A quarter-billion children getting no education: UN

  • Tuesday 23, June 2020 07:56 AM
  • A quarter-billion children getting no education: UN
Sharjah24 – AFP: Nearly 260 million children had no access to schooling in 2018, a United Nations agency said in a report Tuesday that blamed poverty and discrimination for educational inequalities that are being exacerbated by the coronavirus outbreak.
Children from poorer communities as well as girls, the disabled, immigrants and ethnic minorities were at a distinct educational disadvantage in many countries, the UN's Paris-based education body UNESCO said.

In 2018, "258 million children and youth were entirely excluded from education, with poverty as the main obstacle to access," the report found.

This represented 17 percent of all school-age children, most of them in south and central Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.

The disparities worsened with the arrival of the coronavirus crisis, which saw over 90 percent of the global student population affected by school closures, the report said.

And while children from families with means could continue schooling from home using laptops, mobile phones and the internet, millions of others were cut off entirely.

- 'Pushed out' -
The report noted that in low- and middle-income countries, adolescents from the richest 20 percent of households were three times more likely to complete the first portion of secondary school -- up to age 15 -- than those from poor homes.

Children with disabilities were 19 percent less likely to achieve minimum reading proficiency in 10 of these nations.

In 20 poor countries, mainly in sub-Saharan Africa, hardly any rural girls complete secondary school, UNESCO said.

And in richer nations, 10-year-olds taught in a language other than their mother tongue scored 34 percent lower than native speakers in reading tests.

In the United States, LGBTI students were almost three times more likely to have stayed home from school because they felt unsafe.