Education is the fundamental human right that every child has. It was reported that more than 130 million children are out of school. In many parts of the world, children still cannot attend school, and there are 103 million illiterate young people ages 15 to 24. However, new data shows that now more children are enrolled in pre-primary, primary, and secondary than ever before. Over 1 billion children around the world head to class on any given school day. Even though there is progress and children are receiving more education than before, many factors still prevent children in many parts of the world from attending school.
8 Reasons Millions of Children Are Still Out of School
- Gender bias in schools and classrooms can affect children’s ambition, their perception of their roles in society, and occupational segregation. Gender stereotypes in the design of the school, classroom learning environments, and/or the behavior of faculty, staff, and peers can impact the children’s academic performance and choice of field of study. For example, bias and stereotypes can affect young women’s decision to pursue science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
- Cultural norms and practices, such as favoring education for boys, prevents girls from attending school. Many parents and community leaders do not see the value of education for girls and think it is unnecessary for their roles as a wife or a mother.
- Poverty is one of the most important barriers that prevent children from receiving education. Children in the poorest households are almost five times more likely to be out of school.
- Child marriage is a barrier that girls face. Girls who do not receive education are three times more likely to be married before the age of 18 years old than girls who attend secondary school or higher. More than 41,000 girls under 18 are married every day. Additionally, girls who married young tend to drop out of school. Some are forced to quit in order to focus on domestic responsibilities or raise their child. Research shows that 12 years of education for girls can result in a 64% drop in child marriage.
- Child labor can disrupt children’s education, restrict their rights, and limits their future opportunities. Child labor has risen to 160 million globally, and 9 million additional children are at-risk due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Families often send their children to work instead of school.
- War, conflict, and violence immensely impact children’s opportunities to continue their education. Girls and women are the most impacted during a crisis. More than 27 million children in conflict areas are out of school. 26% of young people in the university-age cohort are enrolled in higher education. This percentage is estimated to be less than 1% for refugees.
- The high cost of education can prevent children from low-income families from going to school. This includes tuition fees, textbooks, school fees, uniforms, and transportation. When a family has more than one child, boys are often chosen to attend school more than girls.
- Health and sanitation can affect the well-being of children, especially girls. Girls who did not receive education are more susceptible to sexually transmitted diseases, early pregnancy, and other health complications. If girls received 12 years of education, early pregnancy will decrease by 59% and child death will drop by 49%. In addition, many schools have unsafe latrines or unsanitary water supplies which affect girls when they begin to menstruate. One of the leading factors that prevent girls from going to school is a lack of safe, separate, and private sanitation.
– Wanwarin Yensuk
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