Education Under Attack 2024

A report by Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack

She always said, Even if I am killed, let it be in the name of education. In Afghanistan, an explosive was detonated at the Kaaj private tutoring center in Kabul, killing at least 54 people and injuring at least 114, most of whom were Hazara women and girls, in September 2022. The father of a 19-year-old killed in the blast said that his daughter understood the risks but nonetheless attended classes.[*] Ali M Latifi, "‘If I am killed, let it be in the name of education.’," The New Humanitarian, October 6, 2023. UN General Assembly and Security Council, "The situation in Afghanistan and its implications for international peace and security - Report of the Secretary-General A/77/636-S/2022/916," December 7, 2022, para. 34. "Security Council Press Statement on Attacks against Educational Centre in Kabul," United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan press statement, September 30, 2022. "Afghanistan: UN condemns ‘callous’ suicide attack on education centre," UN News, September 30, 2022.

Education under Attack 2024

A global study of attacks on schools, universities, their students and staff, in 2022 and 2023

Attacks on education are frequent and widespread. From Palestine to Colombia, Democratic Republic of the Congo to Ukraine, students and teachers are killed, raped, and abducted, while schools and universities are bombed, burned down, and used for military purposes.

In the 28 countries profiled in this report, at least ten attacks on education occurred over the past two years.

Spike in Attacks

In 2022 and 2023, there were around 6,000 reported attacks on education and incidents of military use of schools and universities, harming more than 10,000 students and educators globally. On average, eight attacks on education were recorded daily.

Attacks on education and military use increased by nearly 20 percent in 2022 and 2023 compared to the two previous years.

A young student writes on a blackboard damaged by bullets in North Kivu, DRC, in September 2023.

© UNICEF/UNI481106/Vigné

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Most Affected Countries

In 2022 and 2023, the highest numbers of attacks on education were recorded in Palestine, Ukraine, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Myanmar. In each country, hundreds of schools were threatened, looted, burned, targeted with improvised explosive devices, or hit by shelling or airstrikes.

Meanwhile, India, Pakistan, Palestine, and Afghanistan had high reported numbers of people harmed or killed in attacks on education. In some cases, students or educators were injured or killed in attacks on schools and universities, while in others they were targeted in abductions or arrests or harmed while en route to or from school or university.

The Al-Fakhoora educational facility in Al Rimal neighborhood, Gaza, Palestine, was attacked on October 10, 2023, in an early morning bombing.

© 2023 Education Above All Foundation

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New Countries Affected

Two countries not included in the previous report are profiled in this one, Egypt and Kyrgyzstan. More than ten cases of the military use of schools or universities were recorded in Egypt, while over 20 schools were damaged or destroyed in Kyrgyzstan.

A burnt-out kindergarten in Ak-Sai village, Kyrgyzstan. The village saw widespread looting and destruction while briefly under the control of Tajik forces on September 16, 2022.

© 2022 Jean-Baptise Gallopin/Human Rights Watch.

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Attacks On the Rise

Attacks on education increased in Ukraine, Sudan, Palestine, Syria, and Nigeria in 2022 and 2023, as compared to the previous two years.

A school and an internally displaced people's refuge site were damaged in West Darfur, Sudan, on April 27 and 28, 2023.

© 2023 Save the Children

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Drop In Attacks Elsewhere

In Central African Republic (CAR), Libya, Mali, and Mozambique attacks on education decreased during this reporting period, as compared to 2020 and 2021. These countries experienced shifts in conflict dynamics, including conflict de-escalation.

Students learn at a re-opened school in Mali in 2023. Schools in Mali have been attacked and closed due to insecurity in recent years.

© 2023 UNICEF

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Occupation of Schools in 30 Countries

Globally, armed forces and non-state armed groups increasingly occupied schools and universities to use them as bases, barracks, firing positions, and weapons stores, among other non-educational purposes. Incidents of military use of educational facilities increased in 2022 and 2023, rising to over 1,000 incidents.

The damaged playground of the town kindergarten in Bohdanivka, Ukraine, on June 25, 2022. In March 2022, Russian forces stored munitions and parked military vehicles at the kindergarten, which was later destroyed in unclear circumstances.

© 2022 Human Rights Watch

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Some Groups Uniquely Impacted By Attacks

Girls and women were reportedly targeted because of their gender in attacks on education in at least ten countries. Female students and teachers or their education facilities were targeted in an attempt to prevent them from receiving an education in certain contexts, including Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Students with disabilities; lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) students; and students from Indigenous and ethnic minority communities faced greater vulnerabilities and were uniquely impacted by attacks on education.

In October 2022, a Hazara girl cries as she reaches the bench she was sitting on during an attack on an education center in Kabul, Afghanistan.

© Ebrahim Noroozi, AP

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Increasing Use of Explosives

Explosive weapons were used in around one-third of all reported attacks on education in 2022 and 2023. Attacks included airstrikes, rockets, and artillery shelling, as well as the use of improvised explosive devices and landmines, in countries such as Colombia, Myanmar, Palestine, Sudan, Syria, Ukraine, and Yemen.

After an explosion hit his school in Northeast Syria, Hussain (in first grade at the time) was left with severe visual impairment. Out of school for several years, Hussain was able to begin learning again in 2022.

© 2022 Muhannad Khaled / Save the Children

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Hope and Progress

Six new countries endorsed the Safe Schools Declaration after the publication of Education under Attack 2022. As of February 2024, a total of 119 governments have committed to protecting education in situations of armed conflict.

Recently rehabilitated Al Zyadi School in Lahj, Yemen, in January 2022. In previous years, the school was impacted by the conflict.

© UNICEF/UN0580134/Gabreez

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Full List


GCPEA recommends the following to address attacks on education and the military use of schools and universities:

  • Parties to armed conflict should immediately cease attacks on education.
  • Governments should endorse, implement, and support the Safe Schools Declaration to ensure that all students and educators can learn and teach in safety.
  • Armed forces and armed groups should avoid using schools and universities for military purposes, including by using the Guidelines for Protecting Schools and Universities from Military Use during Armed Conflict.
  • Parties to conflict should avoid the use of explosive weapons with wide-area effects in populated areas, including near schools or universities or along routes to or from them, and develop operational policy based on a presumption against such use.
  • Governments and monitoring bodies should strengthen monitoring and reporting of attacks on education.
  • Governments and international justice institutions should promptly and impartially investigate attacks on education and prosecute those responsible.
  • Where feasible, governments should maintain safe access to education during armed conflict.
  • Education providers should “build back better” after attacks on education and ensure funding not only to repair but to improve schools and universities and make them safer and more inclusive to all students and educators.

View the report for a full set of recommendations.


This study is published by the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack (GCPEA), which was formed in 2010 by organizations working in the fields of education in emergencies and conflict-affected contexts, higher education, protection, and international human rights and humanitarian law that were concerned about ongoing attacks on educational institutions, their students, and staff in countries affected by conflict and insecurity. GCPEA is a project of the Tides Center, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization.

Education under Attack 2024 is the result of independent research conducted by GCPEA. It is independent of the individual member organizations of the Steering Committee of GCPEA and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Steering Committee member organizations.


This study was authored by Jerome Marston and Felicity Pearce, GCPEA Senior Researcher and Research Consultant. Marika Tsolakis, Jacob Alabab-Moser, Renna Bazlen, and Alisen Stasiowski contributed research and writing. Alexander Kochenburger, Lilian Cervantes Pacheco, Fatimah Jalilah Abdullahi, Manali Joshi, Roza Kavak, and Ulysses Tully Carr assisted with research.

Generous support for Education under Attack 2024 has been provided by the Education Above All Foundation, Education Cannot Wait, and the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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