UNICEF providing books to 145,000 Central African children affected by conflict

17 March 2010 – The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is working to ensure that some 145,000 children affected by conflict in the Central African Republic have literature, mathematics and science books.

With funding from the Belgian Government, the agency has so far provided 60,000 mathematics books, 60,000 French books and 2,400 teachers’ guides to the Ministry of National Education, Higher Education and Research.

The country has been beset by sporadic conflict in recent years between Government forces and rebels and a spill-over of violence from neighbouring countries that have left hundreds of thousands of people displaced.

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the educational system in the country is characterized by a low level of access – 56 per cent for boys and 49 per cent for girls in 2008.

The dropout rates are particularly high, especially among girls, at 54 per cent.

The inadequate number of textbooks is detrimental to the quality of learning and the current ratio for the country is about 2 books for 9 students, OCHA noted.

The UNICEF project covers various prefectures within the areas affected by armed conflict.

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