Education: A Global Perspective
Access to education is not only a fundamental human right, but also a key factor in reducing poverty and child labor. If every child left school with basic reading skills, 171 million people could be lifted out of poverty. Education is also essential to the process of promoting democracy, peace, tolerance and human development around the world.
Despite this, one in six adults is illiterate, and at least 72 million children-the majority of them girls-are not enrolled in school. Millions more are taught by untrained, underpaid teachers in overcrowded, unhealthy, poorly equipped classrooms.
Around 54 percent of out-of-school children are girls, yet studies have shown that women who are educated have greater earning potential, are less vulnerable to HIV infection, have fewer and healthier children, and are more likely to send their own children to school. Providing every mother in sub-Saharan Africa with a secondary education would save the lives of 1.8 million children.
Seventy percent of the children not enrolled in school live in sub-Saharan Africa and South and West Asia. Hope is fading for the Millennium Development Goal of achieving universal education by 2015, as the global financial crisis has put poor governments under pressure to cut public spending, and aid commitments from rich countries continue to fall short. Today, less than three percent of all humanitarian aid is devoted to education.
Global Campaign for Education | UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) | UN Millennium Development Goals
How Concern is Meeting the Challenge
For over 30 years, Concern has been working to improve access to basic education among the poorest people in the world. Today, Concern has education programs in 13 countries, benefiting 420,000 people, including children, teachers, and family members.
Concern defines basic education as the essential knowledge, skills and values that form the foundation for life-long learning and economic survival. Simply put, basic education gives people greater economic opportunities and empowers them to lead healthier, more productive lives.
We place particular emphasis on reaching those who have been excluded from the formal schooling system, such as girls, children living in slums or isolated rural areas, orphans, working children, children belonging to minority groups, children affected and infected by HIV and AIDS, and children with disabilities.
- Kenya . In 2011, Concern reached 60,000 children, teachers and families in urban slums and poor rural areas, improving access to quality education and school retention rates, especially among orphans and other vulnerable children.
- Burundi . Concern's education work in Burundi is improving access and quality for 11,800 of the poorest children. Concern provided classroom materials and uniforms, advised on the development of a new and improved curriculum, and helped train teachers.
- Haiti . Concern's education programs reached 41 preschools and primary schools, improving access and quality of education for 11,400 children.
How you can help
Get e-updates | Donate to Concern