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Thursday, June 30, 2016

UNICEF says boys, girls equal attendance in primary schools in 129 countries

In addition, the report noted that significant progress has been made in saving children’s lives, getting children into school and lifting people out of poverty, reports NaijaAgroNet.

The global boys and girls now attend primary school in equal numbers in 129 countries, according to the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), just as the under-five mortality rates have been more than halved since 1990, reports NaijaAgroNet.

Although the number of people living in extreme poverty worldwide is almost half what it was in the 1990s, UNICEF said, progress has been neither even nor fair.

UNICEF in The State of the World’s Children special reports also said, the poorest children are twice as likely to die before their fifth birthday and to be chronically malnourished than the richest.

“Across much of South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, children born to mothers with no education are almost 3 times more likely to die before they are 5 than those born to mothers with a secondary education. And girls from the poorest households are twice as likely to marry as children than girls from the wealthiest households,” UNICEF lamented.

Nowhere across the globe, UNICEF report said, is the outlook grimmer than in sub-Saharan Africa, where at least 247 million children – or 2 in 3 – live in multidimensional poverty, deprived of what they need to survive and develop, and where nearly 60 per cent of 20- to 24-year-olds from the poorest fifth of the population have had less than four years of schooling.

Although education plays a unique role in levelling the playing field for children, the number of children who do not attend school has increased since 2011, and a significant proportion of those who do go to school are not learning.

Further, the revealed that about 124 million children today do not go to primary- and lower-secondary school, and almost 2 in 5 who do finish primary school have not learned how to read, write or do simple arithmetic. 

The report equally pointed to evidence that investing in the most vulnerable children can yield immediate and long-term benefits. Cash transfers, for example, have been shown to help children stay in school longer and advance to higher levels of education. On average, each additional year of education a child receives increases his or her adult earnings by about 10 per cent.

“And for each additional year of schooling completed, on average, by young adults in a country, that country’s poverty rates fall by 9 per cent,” official said.

UNICEF said that inequity is neither inevitable, nor insurmountable, arguing that better data on the most vulnerable children, integrated solutions to the challenges children face, innovative ways to address old problems, more equitable investment and increased involvement by communities – all these measures can help level the playing field for children.

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