POSTED BY 60milliongirls | Apr, 11, 2017 |

Fulfilling the right to education is not something that will happen by itself. It will take a concerted effort to make it happen; the barriers to education for the most vulnerable children remain high, and finding a way to overcome these challenges will be crucial if the dream of every child in school is to become a reality.

As our previous blog outlined, education is a human right and, as such, states have a duty to “respect, protect and fulfill” their obligations. A number of global development initiatives have aimed to do just that.

In the fifteen years to 2015, the six goals of the Education for All initiative, combined with the Millennium Development Goals, led to significant progress in getting more children into primary school and in reducing gender disparity in enrollment. The goal of Universal Primary Education by 2015 was not quite met, but the increase in the number of children in school, both as a percentage of the total number of children and in absolute terms, was impressive. By 2015, around  91% of children were in school, up from 83% in 2000, and the number of out-of-school primary-aged children fell from 100 million to 57 million.

The newest set of objectives, the Sustainable Development Goals, adopted in 2015, have an even more ambitious agenda. The global goal for education aims to “ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning”  by 2030. Specific targets are meant to direct states’ efforts to achieve this objective.  Overall, the global goals aim to reduce poverty, end hunger, reduce gender inequality, increase political awareness and take action on climate change among other worthy causes (see below).

Education is the crucial link in each of the 17 SDGs. Not only is education a right in and of itself, it is the necessary component to achieving all of these objectives. In other words, without education, development becomes exponentially more difficult.

Yet, despite this push to fulfill treaty obligations to ensure that EVERY child goes to school, progress has stalled. Enrollment rates have recently plateaued, and girls, along with the very poor and children born in rural areas, remain at a distinct disadvantage.

The UNESCO Institute for Statistics writes that “15 million girls of primary school age will never have the opportunity to learn to read and write in primary school, compared to about 10 million boys.” The total number of out-of-school students at the primary level is now over 60 million, more than half of them girls. You can read about that HERE.

Breaking this down regionally, children in sub-Saharan Africa are most likely to be out of school; they account for around half of the total number of out-of-school children, globally.

Moreover, when potential secondary-aged students are added in, the number of out-of-school children and adolescents remains appallingly high at 263 million.

The graph below shows the percentages of out-of-school primary-aged children who have left school and those who may or may not ever enter the classroom.

The causes for lack of access to schooling are multiple but the three most endemic are poverty, living in a rural area and gender, as we mention in a previous blog post. Children impacted by armed conflict are also highly likely to be out of school.

That means that for states to be able to fulfill their human rights obligations to ensure that EVERY child gets a quality education, we need low-cost solutions that are easily transportable to hard-to-reach areas, combined with community engagement to encourage female participation at all levels.

We firmly believe that technology will be an important way to achieve this.

Our Mobile Learning Lab aims to bring high quality learning materials in an after-school setting to disadvantaged children who have little access to textbooks or even trained teachers. The self-directed learning aspect allows children to build on what they have learned in class and to explore new topics of interest to them. This project is based in rural Sierra Leone.

As well, through our partnership with the Stephen Lewis Foundation in Tanzania, we are supporting secondary school education for Masaai girls, an underserved and vulnerable group.

Please help these children reach their potential. It’s their Right to be able to go to school.

Every gift to the 60 million girls Foundation goes directly to the projects we support.

Please follow us on Facebook and Twitter to learn more about girls’ education in developing countries and our projects which aim to give everyone a chance.


TAGS : Education for All Millennium Development Goals Mobile Learning Lab right to education Sierra Leone Sustainable Development Goal Tanzanzia

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