World way off track on pledge to educate every child
Promises by world leaders to give every child a quality education by 2030 are unlikely to be kept, the United Nations has warned.
UNESCO said in a major report this week that the international community is falling way behind on the education targets in the Sustainable Development Goals. On current trends, the number of children out of school will only fall from 262 million in 2017 to 225 million by 2030. That means 14% of all children will still be denied an education.
The challenge is particularly great for countries in sub-Saharan Africa, where the school-age population is growing faster than elsewhere. In 2000 it accounted for 41% of all children out of school in the world – that rose to 54% by 2017.
Theirworld's #WriteTheWrong campaign has been highlighting the need for a dramatic increase in funding if every child is to get access to quality education. At the UN General Assembly in September, funding appeals will be made for two vital parts of the jigsaw – the Education Cannot Wait fund (ECW) and the new International Finance Facility for Education (IFFEd).
Theirworld hosted a briefing for civil society organisations (CSOs) yesterday, at which some of the people driving ECW and IFFEd updated them on progress and what still needs to be done. Learn more about how the two funds will help to get millions of children into school.
60 Afghan schoolchildren injured in another Taliban attack
One child was killed and dozens wounded in a Taliban attack on a government security compound in Afghanistan on Sunday that left at least 14 dead and over 180 injured.
The children were attending classes in a private school near the blast site in Ghazni. Doors and windows at the school were destroyed in the powerful explosion and 60 children suffered injuries caused by flying shards of glass and broken pieces of wood.
It's the second major Taliban attack that has involved large numbers of school children. Last week one girl was killed and more than 50 students injured in a massive car bomb attack in the capital Kabul. In a separate landmine explosion in Ghor province, six children were killed and one injured.
“In the past week we have witnessed a very worrying increase in large attacks close to schools," said Christopher Nyamandi, Country Director for the Norwegian Refugee Council in Afghanistan.
Theirworld has been campaigning for several years for the right of all children to be get a safe, quality education – free from fear of conflict and violence. Ninety nations have now signed up to the Safe Schools Declaration – a commitment to safeguard education from violence – and many are clamping down on the military use of schools.
Call to protect girls from sexual violence at school
Girls in developing countries must be protected from sexual violence in and around schools, said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore as she urged governments to make it a top priority.
Speaking to AFP news agency on the sidelines of a G7 ministerial summit in Paris, she said keeping young girls safe was crucial to ensuring their education.
"We have a real responsibility to keep violence out of schools… by other students but also by their teachers," she said. But sexual assault and violence was also affecting girls on their route to school and when they were going home, she said.
"In some countries in Africa, like South Africa where I was recently, some girls… (suffer) sexual violence on their way to and from school," she said.
Fore also stressed the importance of "a strong commitment" to the education of girls, particularly in places like the African Sahel, a vast area encompassing Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Nigeria which has been hit by jihadist violence.
Floods affect education for 60,000 Rohingya refugees
Education for more than 60,000 Rohingya refugee children has been disrupted by flooding and landslides in Bangladesh.
Five children's learning centres have been badly damaged and over 750 partially damaged. At least 12 child protection centres have been damaged and one playground completely submerged by heavy rainfall.
Thousands of children and families in the Rohingya refugee camps and host communities in Cox’s Bazar have been affected by heavy rainfall in the last few days. The situation is particularly grim in the camps. Many have been relocated to safe places.
More than 180,000 children aged from four to 14 have been learning in the 2,000 UNICEF-supported learning centres, taught by 4,000 teachers.
South Sudan child marriage ruling 'could be turning point'
A court in South Sudan has annulled a child marriage, in a rare legal case that activists say could signal a turning point for the rights of girls and women in the conservative country.
The marriage of a 16-year-old girl, the daughter of a cattle herdsman, to a 28-year-old man was deemed illegal by a court in Kapoeta late last month.
Despite the legal age of marriage being 18, more than 50% of South Sudanese girls are wed before their 18th birthday, according to UNICEF. Child marriage often prevents girls from going to school. South Sudan has one of the highest out-of-school rates in the world – with more than two million, or 70% of children, not getting an education.
Meanwhile, Angélique Kidjo a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, delivered a video message to an African Union event held in Niger to galvanise support to eliminate child marriage and promote girls’ education in the region. She said: “We need to change mentalities, we need to talk to families, we need our governments involved to preserve and protect the girls' future.”