UN special envoy for global education Gordon Brown on Wednesday called for fundamental changes to make schools safer in the world's most dangerous areas.
Brown, who used to serve as British prime minister, made the appeal at a daily briefing held at the UN Headquarters in New York City, citing urgent situations in countries like South Sudan, Pakistan, Syria and Nigeria, where schoolgirls and boys have been facing with threats of conflict and terror attacks.
"Terror attacks at schools are at the highest level they have been for forty years," said Brown. "There have been more than 10, 000 attacks on schools during the past five years alone."
Around 28 million boys and girls are not in school in areas of conflict or emergency, he added.
Brown urged international partners to reach an agreement this spring on a new multi-million-dollar global humanitarian fund for education in emergencies, while asking countries to sign the international safe school declaration to protect schools from military use and attacks.
The Safe Schools Initiative, backed by the UN special envoy, helps rebuild more schools in conflict-related areas to make them more secure and safer for children and teachers and also strengthens school-based management to determine how to respond when an alarm is sounded.
The initiative has already been established in Nigeria in response to the kidnapping of 200 schoolgirls in Chibok town in the country one year ago, and nearly 30,000 children displaced by extremist group Boko Haram are in double-shift schools, according to Brown.
Brown also announced that a new scheme in Pakistan's Safe School Initiative will introduce the use of simulation software to assess the level of risk preparedness of schools and generate recommendations for school and community safety plans.
Last December, a Taliban attack on a military school in Pakistan's northwestern city of Peshawar killed 140 children and 10 staff members, making it urgent to improve school safety in the country.