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UNICEF Appeals for Help for Syrian Schoolchildren

From VOA Learning English, this is the Education Report.

The United Nations Children's Fund is appealing to international donors to help provide education money for Syrian schoolchildren. Safe places to learn, teachers and supplies are all lacking, and almost 2 million young Syrian students have dropped out of school.

UNICEF says about 40 percent of students from grades one to nine across the nation no longer attend formal classes. UNICEF spokeswoman Marixie Mercado says about half of those children are now refugees in Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Turkey. In the northern city of Aleppo, for example, only six percent of children of school age are in classrooms. But the school year there and in other locations began as planned on September 15th.

Talk of a military strike by the United States had caused uncertainty about starting classes. But, schools opened after a strike appeared less likely. Still, many children who once walked to school are now taken there by their parents. And other families have simply left the country. Lebanon now is trying to help about 550,000 school-age Syrian refugee children. UNICEF says the Lebanese public education system can take care of 300,000 Lebanese children. UNICEF is establishing schools for refugee children in buses.In Jordan, UNICEF says about two-thirds of 150,000 Syrian school-age children are not in school.

In Iraq, UNICEF says nine out of 10 Syrian refugee children are out of school. Inside Syria, Ms Mercado says, the educational system has been torn apart. Both UNICEF and the Syrian government say about 3,000 schools have been damaged or destroyed.

For VOA Learning English, I'm Alex Villarreal.

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