Source Chronicles of Higher Education News Blog, Fri, Apr 27 2007:

The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization published a sobering report today on political and military violence directed against education staff members, students, teachers, union and government officials, and educational institutions around the world.

In the past three years, the number of attacks against educational institutions appears to have risen sharply, according to the report, “Education Under Attack.” In countries experiencing civil unrest, “the bombing of universities and education offices and targeted killing of teachers and academics have become the favored tactics of fighting groups,” the report says.

The report singles out Iraq as the country most affected by violence and warns that its education system is on the brink of collapse. “Only 30 percent of Iraq’s 3.5 million students are attending classes, compared to 75 percent in the previous school year,” the report says. “Baghdad universities are reporting attendance down by 40 percent, in some departments attendance is down to one-third. More than 3,000 academics have fled the country.”

Universities in Nepal and the Palestinian territories were also subjected to attacks. In the Palestinian territories, the report says, “there were 299 incidents of shelling and breaking into schools, directorate offices, and universities by June 2004; 36 teachers, 622 pupils, and 200 university students have been killed by January 2007.” —Aisha Labi

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