Picture: UNICEF/Altaf Qadri
Only TWO countries out of the 29 with 500,000 or more out-of-school children are making good progress towards getting every girl and boy into learning by the end of the year, according to a shocking new report.
With only nine months to go before the deadline for universal education set by the United Nations, urgent action is needed to develop strong strategies and increase spending on education, according to a set of figures published today by A World at School.
In the Millennium Development Goal 2 Global Education Scorecard, eight countries are described as being “way off track”. Nigeria and Pakistan carry the heaviest burden with nine million and five million children respectively out of school. Afghanistan, Haiti, Niger, Somalia, South Sudan and Sudan are also on the same list.
In 2000 the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were signed, promising that by 2015 every child would have access to an education. But 58 million children are currently out of school - and the situation is not improving.
Since 2012 at least 12 African countries have seen cuts in their aid to basic education of $10 million or more.
The 29 countries profiled and rated contain nearly 50 million of the 58 million children currently not getting a basic primary school education. The A World at School scorecard reveals what each country is doing to overcome that.
Baela Jamil, education advocate from Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi (ITA) in Pakistan, said: "The scorecard shows we must redouble our efforts to achieve universal education and learning. For Pakistan, that means we ensure plans are in place for every child, we create safe schools and that government financing reaches the level needed."
Only Ghana and Mozambique are said in the scorecard to have made “good progress” with 13 other countries marked as “urgent action needed.” Those include Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, South Africa, Indonesia and Yemen.
A further six countries have been marked as “targeted efforts needed”, including India, Ethiopia and Uganda.
Gordon Brown, United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education, will take these findings to the international community - challenging leaders to help governments get back on track. He said: "Fifteen years ago we made a promise that no child would be shut out of school. Yet on the eve of our deadline to deliver on this promise we have not put these fundamental building blocks in place. This is a wake-up call to governments and donor agencies worldwide to put education on the agenda and deliver on our commitment to children."
Ben Hewitt, Campaigns Director for A World at School, said: "The scorecard shows that progress on getting children in to school has stalled while donor funding for basic education is declining."
Annie Namala, Executive Director of the Centre for Social Equity and Inclusion in India, said: "The large majority of out-of-school and drop-out children in India come from the socially-excluded communities as Dalits, Tribals, Nomadic communities and Muslims. Targeted financial and academic efforts are necessary to overcome the historical exclusions and addressing current forms of discriminations in schools to bring every child into schooling and learning."
To read the full scorecard, click here or on the image below.