LONDON - More than 40 percent of Syrian refugee children living in neighboring countries are not being educated and the number is rising due to a lack of funding and bullying in schools, children's rights group KidsRights said on Tuesday.
Despite world leaders agreeing at a 2016 conference to enroll all Syrian refugee children into school by late 2017, KidsRights said 43 percent of Syrian children in Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Turkey and Iraq still don't have access to an education.
The report said about 777,000 of 1.8 million registered Syrian children in the five countries were not being educated at the end of 2017 - which was nearly 250,000 more out of school than in 2016.
KidsRights said failing to educate Syrian children would lead to a "lost generation" and seriously impact efforts to rebuild the country now entering its eighth year of war.
"The successful reconstruction of post-conflict Syria by a young generation of Syrians will stand or fall by the level of educational access we can offer them," Marc Dullaert, the founder and chairman of KidsRights, said in a statement.
Syria's conflict began in 2011 with a popular uprising and has killed hundreds of thousands and displaced 11 million more.
A generation of young children has grown up without proper education, with 180,000 youths forced into child labor, the U.N. children's fund UNICEF says.
The report, released at the second Leaders and Laureates for Children Summit on Jordan on Tuesday, said the rising number of children out of school was due to a lack of funding for Syrian refugees and restrictive policies by host countries.
In addition, Syrian school children enrolled in school have encountered issues with harassment and bullying, leading to their removal by their families, the report said.
KidsRights called for international donors and host governments meeting in Brussels in April again this year to urgently fill a $603 million funding gap and make education a priority.