67.5 million

How is it that worldwide 67.5 million children are out of school?

A global lack of education is preventing millions of children from escaping the cycle of extreme poverty. It seems that of the 67.5 million children not receiving primary education, 95% of these are in developing countries.

Did you know that in Mozambique, Sierra Leone, and Madagascar, there are in some classrooms as many as 80 students and one trained teacher?

Awareness. It is easy for us to sit in our bubble in Dallas, Texas and not consider education worldwide. If everything is going well in our own lives, we think all is well with the world. We get caught up in our own day-to-day routines. Studying all night for our accounting midterm, making the morning Starbucks run with the kids buckled in the backseat, checking emails bleary-eyed until one in the morning. Whatever we may be involved in, we get stuck there. We lack perspective. And then, when I consider big picture, worldwide issues, I realize how much I have yet to know. The more I learn, the more and more I come to find that I don’t know.

More than half of the children not enrolled in school are girls, but child survival rates actually jump by 40% if girls are educated for approximately five years. Many families who experience extreme poverty fail to see the long- term benefits of schooling their children, but instead see the short -term benefits of the child working outside of the home or performing chores around the house. School fees, testing fees and uniform costs sometimes make schooling not a feasible option for impoverished families.

Fortunately, there is hope. Recently, debt cancellation and relief for some governments has allowed school fees to be abolished. In Africa, 46.5 million children went to school for the first time between 1999 and 2008 due to savings from debt relief, development assistance for education, and prioritization by African governments. This is progress. At the World Education Forum in Dakar in 2000, donors and developing countries made the goal of Education for All (EFA) and established 2015 as the target date for achieving
Universal Primary Education. But we have a long way to go. In sub-Saharan Africa, for example, 1.2 million more teachers are still needed to achieve universal primary education by the year 2015.

Education is vital, for the well being of individuals and the vitality of countries.  We know
little. This is only a glimpse. The issue is enormous.

Author: Michelle Craig, AB

Facts retrieved from www.one.org

Photo source: www.one.org

About Stephanie Howeth

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