61 million primary age children and 121 million all aged children throughout the world were out-of-school as of 2010 (UNESCO, 2012; Shah, 2013). This is a large global problem as these millions of children end up on the outskirts of society, with few skills and options available to them. Without an education, children are unable to participate fully and meaningfully in the development of their communities, thereby decreasing their chance of a successful future. In addition to the high numbers of out-of-school children, another concern is that some children emerging from school programs are still without basic literacy (UNICEF, 2013). Access to quality education needs to be a top priority in international development planning in order to empower children to affect positive change in their communities and ultimately their countries and our global future.
One of the millennium goals set in 2000 by the United Nations is universal primary education by 2015. There have been great gains made in this area, with enrollment of primary aged children up 8% since 1999 (United Nations, 2013). However, these gains are slowing and the latest evidence shows that the numbers out-of-school children have remained virtually the same between 2008 and 2010 (UNESCO, 2012).
Education is one of the fundamental factors in the relationship between sustainability and empowerment. No country can achieve sustainable development without investment into the education of their children and continued attention in this area is essential to the future success of our world.
The interactive world map available through the top link provides statistics and shows the connection between geographical location and out-of school children for various world regions. Providing pictures of children who live in those locations will hopefully highlight that behind each one of these statistics is a real child.
Shah, A. (2013). Global Issues: Poverty Facts and Stats. Retrieved April 3, 2014, from http://www.globalissues.org/article/26/poverty-facts-and-stats
The World Bank. (n.d.) Data. Retrieved from http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SE.PRM.UNER.FE/countries
UNESCO. (2012). Reaching out-of-school children is crucial for development: UIS fact sheet. Retrieved from http://www.uis.unesco.org/FactSheets/Documents/fs-18-OOSC-2.pdf
UNICEF. (2013). A regional analysis of the situation of out of school children in Central and Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States. Retrieved from http://www.unicef.org/education/files/Unicef_Global-Initiative-on-Out-of-School-Children_Summary_En_FINAL.pdf
United Nations. (2013). Millennium goals 2013 fact sheet. Retrieved from http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/education.shtml