In an article titled “The lost Generation: Children in Conflict Zones”, Ghafar & Masri lament that the “catastrophic by-product of ongoing conflicts in the Middle East is a lost generation of unschooled children”. Currently there are conflicts in Syria, Yemen, and Iraq in the Middle East. A 2015 report by UNICEF (United Nations Educational International Children’s Emergency Fund) estimates that 13 million children are affected by conflict; when conflict zones of Libya, the State of Palestine, Sudan, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey are added to Syria, Yemen, and Iraq. That is a staggering number when it is remembered that the population in states like Portugal, Cuba, Greece, Tunisia and Bolivia are each less than 13 million (United Nations Population Division estimates for 2016).
In recent months it has been widely reported that frustrated youths with no gainful employment are the willing recruits for the Islamist terrorist organization, ISIS. The enormity of the problem of unschooled youths may shock the world if 13 million children can be imagined to become willing “martyrs” of suicide bombings now; or armed terrorists when they become young adults. Which country will be safe if 13 million frustrated youths decided to vent their anger against such a country? A scenario like that ought to give pause to countries fueling conflict, by supplying arms to warring sides in the Middle East for political reasons. 13 million unschooled children is an astronomical waste of human capital. School and family must be kept safe and healthy because modernization depends on these two institutions for progress and development. Conflict responsible for 13 million unschooled children amplifies the astronomical waste of human capital which war inflicts. Suing for and bringing about peace now in these conflict zones will ensure giant development strides, safety, and security not only for the current victims of conflict, but for the countries involved and for the world at large.
Transitioning from a traditional society to a modern one depends on the education and health of the youth in any society; and these form the core for human capital. Societies change for the better because of development. Economic liberalization and Globalization would not be possible without skills development. Societies therefore depend on Human Capital for development. Unfortunately in many conflict zones the world over, children have lost the opportunity for schooling which is the foundation for a good education, and the beginning for developing and acquiring skills as preparation towards contributing positively to society.