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DAKAR (AlertNet) - Some 800,000 children in Ivory Coast have missed out on school since the outbreak of violence following last year's disputed presidential election.
In the western regions of Moyen Cavally and 18 Montagnes, where fresh fighting erupted on Tuesday, some 180,000 children are losing out on their education and most teachers have been absent since November.
"We know from experience that when children’s education is disrupted in a situation like this, they are less likely to go back to school once the crisis is over," said Guy Cave, Ivory Coast country director for Save the Children.
Nearly 45,000 of those who have fled their homes have sought safety in Liberia. But aid groups say the thousands of children who have crossed into Liberia cannot attend school there because of language and curriculum differences.
Simmering political tensions among secondary and college students supporting different sides in the deadlock have led to fights. About 4,000 students have seen their books, schoolbags and other study materials destroyed by fellow students.
Teachers in some areas have been encouraged not to attend their classes in protest at the post-electoral crisis. Others have abandoned their posts out of fear for their safety, the agency said.