Education first

Amongst children aged between 7-18 years, 13 percent or more than 140 million have never been to school. The rate is even higher in some areas; in sub-Saharan Africa, 32 percent of girls and 27 percent of boys never attend school.

In fact, it stresses, the quality of education systems is failing children in various parts of the world and could prevent them from achieving its Education for All (EFA) campaign by the target 2015.
The world celebrated International Human Rights Day on December 10. However, as UNESCO reveals, a lot still remains to be done for children, -particularly in education.

Education is the key to hope and possibility

it unlocks potential, broadens world views and shapes the future. It provides the tools for social progress. It nurtures children, strengthens families, empowers communities and builds nations.
Among the poor, there is often not enough food at home and most schools in developing countries do not have canteens or cafeterias. On empty stomachs, kids become easily distracted and have problems concentrating on their lessons. This short-term hunger impedes a child’s ability to learn and achieve.

In many cases, severe malnutrition results in mental and physical stunting. This, in turn, puts an added burden on poor nations.
Research confirms, however, that basic education is the most effective investment to improve economies and create literate, self-reliant and healthy societies.

Goals under threat

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) expounds that the right to education is a fundamental human right and is essential for the exercise of all other human rights from civil, political, economic to social liberties. According to the organization, education can empower economically and socially marginalized children to lift themselves out of poverty and participate fully in their communities

• 45 million more children will die between now and 2015
• 247 million more people in sub-Saharan Africa will be living on less than $1 a day in 2015

• 97 million more children will still be out of school in 2015
• 53 million more people in the world will lack proper sanitation facilities 

Report warns of childcare double
disadvantage for poorest

A new report has warned that social inequalities could widen if rich nations do not guarantee high quality early years care and education for all. Report Card 8: The Childcare Transition, produced by UNICEF’s Innocent Research Centre, cautions that poor quality child care may harm a child’s development. The poorest children could therefore face the double disadvantage of being born into poverty coupled with their parents’ inability to afford high quality childcare. England is ranked joint eleventh out of 25 OECD countries in the international comparative study, meeting 5 out of 10 benchmarks.

UNICEF highlights plight of children in emergencies

UNICEF has launched its 2009 Humanitarian Action Report (HAR), an annual appeal for children and women affected by humanitarian emergencies. The past year has seen UNICEF respond to emergencies ranging from devastating natural disasters, escalating food and oil prices to worsening conflict situations.