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Achieving Universal Primary Education
Transcript of Achieving Universal Primary Education
Why is it so important?
What we face
Achieving Universal Primary Education
Australia is one of 189 countries that adopted the Millennium Declaration and committed to the Millennium Development Goals in 2000. The eight Millennium Development Goals are a shared world vision for reducing poverty and are at the center of Australia’s aid program. The central goal is to reduce by half the proportion of people living on less than US$1.25 a day by 2015 relative to 1990. It is the collective responsibility of all United Nations member countries, developed and developing countries alike, to meet the goals and targets set out in the declaration by 2015. The Australian aid program doubled in size to $4.3 billion in the five years to 2010-11 and, on current economic projections, will double again to meet the Government’s commitment to increase the aid program to 0.5 per cent of Gross National Income (GNI) by 2015-16. This commitment will make an important contribution to efforts to speed up progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals.
The second goal in the United Nations Millennium Development Goals is to achieve Universal Primary Education, more specifically, to “ensure that by 2015, children everywhere, boys and girls alike will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling." Currently, there are more than 75 million children around the world of primary school age who are not in school. The majority of these children are in regions of sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia and within these countries, girls are at the greatest disadvantage in receiving access to education at the primary school age. Every child has the right to go to school, but millions are still being left behind. Universal primary education involves entering school at an appropriate age, progressing through the system and completing a full cycle.
Today, there are over 30 million more children in school than in the beginning of the decade.
Primary school enrollments have increased dramatically in sub-Saharan Africa as well as in South and West Asia. Enrollment in primary education in developing regions reached 90 per cent in 2010, up from 82 per cent in 1999, which means more kids than ever are attending primary school.
Even as countries with the toughest challenges have made large strides, progress on primary school enrollment has slowed. Between 2008 and 2011, the number of out-of-school children of primary age fell by only 3 million.
In Ethiopia there are three million more children in school than in 2000, thanks to an ambitious rural school construction program and the abolition of primary school fees - a widespread obstacle to universal primary education.
Gender gaps in youth literacy rates are also narrowing. Globally, there were 95 literate young women for every 100 young men in 2010, compared with 90 women in 1990.
There are 72 million children still out of school. Nearly half of these children live in sub-Saharan Africa.
On current trends, 56 million children could still be out of school by 2015.
Of those students enrolled in school, millions drop out or leave school without having gained the most basic literacy and numeracy skills.
Pupil/teacher ratios in many countries are in excess of 40:1 and a severe teacher shortage exists.
Many governments are neglecting the “education poor” – those on the fringes of society, ranging from indigenous populations to street children, from the disabled to linguistic and cultural minorities. New approaches must be tailor-made for such groups – simply increasing opportunities for standard schooling is not enough.
In 2011, 57 million children of primary school age were out of school.
Globally, 123 million youth (aged 15 to 24) lack basic reading and writing skills. 61 per cent of them are young women.
Global Campaign for Education
Right to Education Project
Save the Children
United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
World Food Program
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN)
Fast Track Initiative (FTI)
Bus of Books
We chose this organisation as we wanted to work in our own backyard and aid causes in Australia first before tackling the much larger, global aspects of achieving universal primary education. Bus of Books aims to ‘close the gap’ using literacy skills. This ties in appropriately with our aim to raise awareness about the need to achieve primary education and to provide basic literacy skills to primary school-aged children.
Education is a crucial factor in ending global poverty. With education, employment opportunities are broadened, income levels are increased and maternal and child health is improved. In areas where access, attendance and quality of education have seen improvements, and an increase in the healthiness of the community in general as well as individual and familial health. In countries with solid education systems in place, there are lower crime rates, greater economic growth and improved social services.
There are several barriers which contribute to lack of access and poor attendance at schools. These include:
Location; difficulty to access schools
Gender; it is generally believed that girls are often discouraged from attending primary schooling, especially in less developed countries for religious and cultural reasons
Cost; there are high opportunity costs
Language; children may not be able to speak their mother tongue at school, affecting their performance and understanding
Unless we reach the children who are being left behind, the goal of education for all children will not be reached.
So, far UNESCO has found that the:
number of children enrolled in primary schools worldwide rose by more than 40 million between 1999 and 2007
net primary enrollment in sub-Saharan Africa rose from 58% to 74% over the same period
international aid commitments to basic education almost doubled from $2.1 billion in 2002 to $4.1 billion in 2007
However, despite all these important achievements, the world is currently not on course to achieve its target of universal primary education by 2015. Currently, although we are close to achieving the goal, 120 million children could still be out of school in 2015 and girls will still lag behind boys in school enrollment and attendance. Sub-Saharan Africa is particularly affected as over a quarter of its children of primary school age were out of school in 2007.
Bus of Books is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to providing young people in rural and disadvantaged communities within Australia with resources and programs to read and succeed. They envision a world whereby all young people will be able to engage in a rewarding education that empowers them to reach their full potential and make a difference in their communities.
Lack of basic literacy skills is one of the biggest barriers to ‘closing the gap’ in communities in need, creating deep social disadvantages and limiting opportunities later in life. By immersing young people in the culture of reading, imagination is ignited and confidence built for a prosperous future, regardless of race, economic status and geography. By supporting literacy education in underfunded schools, libraries and communities, Bus of Books hopes to foster change in welfare dependent communities by inspiring the imaginations of young people and empowering them to seek higher learning and employment opportunities.
They aim to inspire young lives one book at a time, by putting books into the hands of young people and empowering them to experience the joy of reading. Our goal by 2022 is to collect 100,000 books and raise $100,000 for Australia’s disadvantaged schools and communities. So far, they have collected 13 518 books.
Tina, Karen and Helen