You may get excited when a typhoon comes and you get a day off, but students in many countries would love the chance to enjoy a normal, safe day at school. Students and schools are increasingly being used as weapons of war, UN Special Envoy for Global Education Gordon Brown said. He added that more should be done to protect education in war zones.
"We used to think that hospitals and religious places and schools were considered out of bounds. And certainly international law says that they are," Brown told a global peace forum in Britain last Thursday.
"But more and more often … schools are being used by groups and different organisations fighting their wars. They have become military bases rather than what they should be - sanctuaries and havens of safety for young innocent children in war," he said.
Brown, who was British prime minister between 2007 and 2010, was speaking at the forum Rising 15, an annual peace meeting.
In recent years, schools in Yemen and Syria have been bombed, and students have been kidnapped from schools in South Sudan and Nigeria. Schools have also been attacked or used as bases for armed groups, or as places to recruit child soldiers.
More than 30 million children are missing out on school in areas affected by conflict, the United Nations cultural agency Unesco said in June.
Some 35 per cent of children in war zones are out of school today, up from 30 per cent in 2000, said Unesco.
Brown, the UN children's agency (Unicef) and others have called for a fund to be set up for education in emergencies, so that students can be helped quickly during a conflict.