The United Nations General Assembly gathered, on November 20th 1952, with the objective of reaffirming children’s universal rights, rights that would be later adopted on the Declaration of the Rights of the Child in 1959. Among its articles we could highlight number 7, in which it is stated that “The child is entitled to receive education, which shall be free and compulsory, at least in the elementary stages.”.
However, according to the latest data published by UNESCO, this is far from reality, as there are 61 million children of primary school age (between six and eleven years old) that are not enrolled in any educational program. This is equivalent to one out of eleven children around the world. This worldwide total number has not varied during the past five years; therefore, once again we can assert that education is still one of the matters where governments should focus their efforts.
Even though not every country celebrates the International Children’s Right day during the same date, this celebration has become an essential day for numerous countries around the world. Every year on November 20th the progresses achieved in this field is cherished, but above all, it is a day that works as an attention grabber in order to draw attention towards the situation of the most disadvantaged children worldwide, raise awareness about the children’s rights, and educate people about the importance of working everyday on the children’s wellbeing and development.
According to the Director-General, Irina Bokova, world leaders have promised to provide every child with a primary and secondary education by 2030. Nonetheless, the latest data from the UNESCO report shows the difficulty we are going to face if we are to really reach this goal. Moreover, she added that the main focus today should be on inclusion from the earliest age, try to overcome every obstacle that develops/shows up in their countries and pay special attention to girls, as they are still the ones who face the greatest disadvantage in many countries.
It is true that gender disparities in education participation have decreased significantly since 2000 and that the world shows a rapid convergence towards parity at the global level. Nevertheless, in 2014, among children of primary school age, about 1 out of 10 girls and 1 out of 12 boys were out of school. As stated by the latest UNESCO report regarding children not enrolled in any educational program, 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 who are in the same situation.
Sub-Saharan Africa is the region with the largest gender disparities; here, girls represent 54% of all out-of-school children and 53% of all out-of-school adolescents.
Another alarming fact published by this report shows that, worldwide, 41% of all out-of-school children (about 25 million children) have never attended school and will probably never go if current trends continue as we know them today. While the United Nations member States and donors work on widening the access to the higher education levels, they cannot set aside the millions of children who will never have the chance to go to a school.
In order to approach and try to understand the whole of these numbers and the situation of inequality that in the right to education is registered all over the world as well as the responsibility and the tasks in which each of us have in its enforceability, the materials of the campaign “Right to education, right to hope” are available here and in four languages.