67 Million School Age Children Denied Access To Education —UN

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At least 67 million children of school age are still denied the right to education due to financial, social or other challenges, UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) has said.

According to a statistics released on Monday by the ECOSOC, the challenges also include health problems and armed conflict.

On its annual high-level meeting opened Monday in Geneva, ECOSOC said about 796 million adults still lacked basic literacy skills, taking up 17 per cent of the world adult population.

“At the national, regional and global levels, big issues confront us in the quest to make education reality for all,” ECOSOC President, Lazarous Kapambwe, told member states at the meeting, themed Education For All.

One of the recent challenges highlighted by ECOSOC is the cutting back of education budgets by many governments as a result of the financial crisis.

A survey conducted on 18 low income countries indicates that seven of them cut their education spending in 2009, raising concerns that many more children would drop out of school in these countries.

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Another major obstacle to overall education is armed conflict, which occurred in 35 countries over the last decade.

Accordingly, 28 million school age children are out of school in these countries, about 42 per cent of the world total.

The ECOSOC president called for burden sharing between developed and developing countries as well as private sector and governments, in efforts to ensure the right to education in low income countries and in particular, the least developed countries.

ECOSOC is the principal UN body for coordinating and reviewing economic and social policies.

Its annual high-level meeting assesses the progress made in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals as well as other goals and targets on the UN Development Agenda.