| overview |
quick facts | the benefits of education
| what governments are doing? |
“The foundation for every state is in the education of
its youth” – Diogenes Laertius
"Education is a peacebuilding by another
UN Secretary General
young children were to receive a good quality basic education lasting for a
minimum of four years, the problem of illiteracy would be resolved in the
space of a single generation. Every day, 125 million young children are
denied access to a necessary human right, basic education –two-thirds of these
children are girls.
Despite the fact that much recent progress on this issue has been made, millions
of adults and children remain functionally illiterate. Basic education is the
building block for higher learning. It opens the door to freedom from poverty
and hunger and the learning of conflict resolution skills.
Education can also teach essential knowledge of health issues to young people.
This information can protect them throughout their lives from deadly diseases
such as HIV/AIDS and help them as adults to raise healthier children.
Basic education affects all aspects of people’s economic and social lives.
In the workplace people require basic numeric skills to make their businesses
run smoothly. In order to understand their potential for the future young women
and men need the basic knowledge and tools to make the right decisions. In order
to prevent being exploited children need to understand what is going on around
them well enough to choose a safe and productive path.
It is therefore critical that every girl and boy has access to basic
education. Governments need to redouble their efforts to bring into reality
commitments they have made to provide free, compulsory basic education for all
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million children around the world are denied the chance to go to school. These
numbers are equivalent to every child in North America and every child in Europe
being denied schooling
• More than 104 million children between the ages of 6 and 11 do not attend
school, three-quarters of whom live in sub-Saharan Africa and South and West
• Two-thirds of children not attending school are girls and more than 95% of
disabled children do not attend school
• Another 150 million children drop out of primary school before they have
completed five years of education –the minimum required for achieving basic
• 872 million people, or one in four adults in the developing world, cannot read
• Gender disparities exist at all levels of education, even though educating
girls and women leads to reduced fertility rates, reduced infant and maternal
mortality, improved family health and nutrition, and improved economic and
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benefits of education
– Education empowers people and gives them a sense of dignity and
self-worth. It puts them in a better position to make informed decisions about
their families and their communities.
Health – Access to education, especially for girls and women,
has a positive impact on family health. It can, for example, reduce infant and
maternal mortality rates and the incidence of HIV/AIDS. Moreover, education
contributes to a better understanding of choices for reproduction. Educated
women, for example, have fewer and healthier children.
Social development – Education contributes to characteristics
of good citizenship, empowers people to become active citizens and promotes the
economic and social development of communities. Education also fosters
democracy, equality, justice, dignity and respect for human rights.
Human-capacity development – Education builds a person’s skills
and capabilities, helping that person to become a more productive member of
their community. Each year of basic education increases a person’s productivity
and earning potential, with the greatest proportional gain occurring as a result
of primary education.
Environmental sustainability – Education can promote
sustainable development; it can allow people to better understand their
environment, and to participate in ecologically sound development practices.
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governments are doing?
Universal Declaration of Human Rights:
Adopted in 1948, the governments of the world committed to guarantee everyone
the right to a free education (at least in the elementary stages) (Article 26)
The Convention on the Rights of the
Child: Governments promised to make primary education free,
compulsory and accessible for all. The Convention was ratified by every country
except the US and Somalia.
The World Conference on Education for
All: Meeting in Thailand in 1990, government leaders promised to
provide good quality primary education for every child in the world and to
dramatically reduce adult illiteracy by the year 2000.
The goals were only partially met:
million more children went to school every year during that decade.
• The overall adult literacy rate rose to 85 per cent for men and 74 per cent
• The number of out-of-school children fell from an estimated 127 million
children to 113 million children.
• Globally, there was a 5 per cent increase in enrolment in pre-primary
The World Education Forum: In April 2000, 164 countries gathered in
Dakar, Senegal, to recommit themselves to providing basic education. The
countries in attendance adopted the Dakar Framework for Action, committing
themselves to six goals. These goals are to ensure that by 2015:
• All children of primary school age have more access to free schooling of an
• Gender gaps in schooling access would be eliminated.
• The level of adult illiteracy would be halved.
• Early childhood care would be expanded.
• Learning opportunities for youth and adults would be greatly increased.
• All aspects of education quality would be improved.
and current situation: Currently, 83 countries are projected to achieve
Education For All by 2015. However, more than 70 countries (mostly in
sub-Saharan Africa) are falling behind.
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of Child Poverty
daily face the problem of lack of food. The hunger is the most common
consequence of child poverty.
Child poverty leaves children on the street
without a roof over its head. Homelessness disallows children to educate and