Global Education: 124 Millions Without

In the US we have problems with schools, asking if they are educating our kids or if they are as good as they ought to be. We do not ask whether schools should exist or whether kids should attend. That’s a key reason our problems with schools set us apart from those in a number of countries in East Asia, the Middle East, Africa, where almost 124 million children and adolescents, mostly between the ages of 6 and 15, are not able to go to school. The figures come from a recent Human Rights Watch report which was compiled using UNESCO Institute statistics and is based on HRW studies of 40 countries for some 20 years. The report titled “The Education Deficit: Failures to Protect and Fulfill the Right to Education in Global Development Agendas,” movingly portrays obstacles to education such as the costs, the discrimination including those from caste and social mores, that of government officials against children with disabilities, the challenges faced by girls, the customs such as childhood marriage, the many global conflicts interfering with access to education. The report does not spare the US where a third of LGBT students are being bullied and a third skipped class or dropped out of school due to harassment. The report states that governments and their policies may be responsible for the deficit since “in many cases…it comes down to the basic failure to implement and uphold provisions of the right to an education.” Funding is another drawback. According to the Global Education Partnership, it will take $8 billion a year to educate all children affected by conflict and crises. As mentioned in a post here several weeks ago, the World Humanitarian Summit facilitated raising $3.85 billion from about 100 donors both in the public and private sectors. Yet that will be over the next five years and the needed sums of course require more than that.
Education may be a right, one those of us who have it cannot take for granted. It is also one we ought to be more vocal about recognizing and supporting.