Education remains an unreachable right for millions of children around the globe. Currently, upward of 72 million children in the primary education age (five to 12 years) are not in school and 759 million adults are illiterate. There are a plethora of reasons why such a large number of children in lower income countries do not receive the adequate education at the primary school level. Below are just some of the factors driving a lack of access to education:
- There aren’t enough schools. Many of the poorest countries in the world do not have access to the adequate financial resources necessary to create schools. Providing schooling materials along with recruiting and training teachers cost money, and aid from fellow countries generally is not sufficient enough to establish an education system for all children.
- There is a low value of education. Many times in remote areas of the world, children who belong to the indigenous population are more trained at finding food and livelihood for themselves rather than focusing on education. Due to this, they are never taught the value and importance of education.
- The geographical location is not ideal for schooling. This includes things like severe weather conditions, rough terrain and lack of transportation. For example, children in the Philippines have to walk miles before they can reach the nearest primary school. Some areas in India meanwhile are just too stiff to climb and for transportation to pass.
- Many families cannot afford school and are oftentimes forced into child labor. Over 300 million children between the ages of five and 17 years are engaged in employment worldwide. Most of these children work to financially support their families making child labor a significant contributor to high numbers of them being out of school. Parents, as well as governments, are more concerned about other important things like finding food, shelter and water for the families.
- Minority groups are often excluded or forgotten. Specific groups find themselves marginalized while their children are deprived of education opportunities. This tends to happen either because of passive underinvestment by the government in particular geographies where the ethnic minorities are concentrated or because of active discrimination.
- Conflict within a country overruns the opportunities for education. Children in war-ridden countries don’t have a chance to go to school and be educated. Child refugees caught in war and conflict spend the majority of their young lives in refugee camps. Instead of spending time in a classroom learning, they are caught in the middle of chaos which they do not deserve.
Access to schools is the first step toward increasing the right to an education for all children on a global level. Taking steps to resolve the hindering factors driving the lack of access to education will be crucial in overcoming education’s inaccessibility to so many young minds.
– Keaton McCalla