Every child has the right to an education. Globally on 20th November World Children’s Day is celebrated each year, marking the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989. As stated in the convention, “children’s rights require special protection and call for continuous improvement of the situation of children all over the world, as well as for their development and education in conditions of peace and security.”
Over 1 billion children around the world go to school every day, according to UNICEF. Today more children and adolescents are enrolled in pre-primary, primary and secondary education than ever before. Yet worldwide it is estimated that 617 million children and adolescents do not reach minimum proficiency levels in reading and mathematics – albeit two-thirds of them go to school.
“Schooling does not always lead to learning. Worldwide, there are more non-learners in school than out of school,” United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
The insufficient number of trained teachers as well as poor learning materials are contributing to the learning difficulty faced by many children. UNICEF states, that some students cannot benefit from school lessons because they are “too hungry, sick or exhausted from work or household tasks.”
Despite the unprecedented high in the number of school enrolments, roughly one in five school-aged children remain entirely out of school, according to UNICEF. While several different causes can lead to exclusion from education, poverty however, remains up front. This results in children from the poorest households being almost five times more vulnerable to missing out compared to those from the richest.
Furthermore, UNICEF reports that due to COVID-19 and the following closure of schools, more than 1 billion children are now at risk of falling behind. Countries all over the world have therefore implemented remote learning programmes. However, many children worldwide do not have access to the internet, computers, or other necessary media to access such classes. Globally 3 out of 4 affected students come from rural areas and, or belong to the poorest households; this adds up to 31% of school children worldwide.
UNICEF emphasises the severe consequences of lacking education; “without skills for lifelong learning, children face greater barriers to earning potential and employment later in life. They are more likely to suffer adverse health outcomes and less likely to participate in the decisions that affect them – threatening their ability to build a better future for themselves and their communities.”
To continue defending children’s rights and supporting them fulfilling their own potential, UNICEF has set out different objectives to reach by 2021. Those include the goal to increase the number of out-of-school children gaining access to early learning, primary or secondary education, from 10 million to 60 million.
Additionally, the organisation has relased their own Education Strategy 2019-2030, ‘Every Child Learns.’ Click below to get more information on why children’s education is vital and what UNICEF does to reach their goals.
‘Every Child Learns’ is in association with the Education 2030 Framework of Action and SDG4, which “aims to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.”
In 2015, The Framework for Action was adopted by 184 UNESCO member states. In oder to accomplish the objective an international community and partnerships are necessary besides other aspects. Despite the main responsibility for ensuring the right to quality education is held by governments, the 2030 Agenda is a “universal and collective commitment,” thus all gobal engagement is needed to “tackle educational challenges and build systems that are inclusive, equitable and relevant to all learners.”