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Inequality In Access To Education

In developing nations, the path to development and advancement is easily carved by those who have access to an education. Yet in many countries around the world, children are denied access to education for a host of reason. The worst inequity that comes to mind is the lack of access to education that girls have in countries like Afghanistan or Nigeria. However, the problem extends to discrimination along ethnic lines and class divides.

Children in rural areas are far less likely to go to primary school and significantly less likely to go to college. Minorities face prejudice and a sometimes insurmountable achievement gap. Children with disabilities are denied schooling altogether in cultures where their disability is poorly understood. The UNHRC is mandated to address human rights abuses, and as a right given under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, education and addressing obstacles facing those who most need it, are under the purview of the UNHRC.[1]

Democratic Republic of the Congo: Children living in conflict affected areas left behind

The chances of children going to school in the Democratic Republic of the Congo are heavily influenced by whether they live in a conflict zone, and whether they are rich or poor. Almost all children aged 7-16 in the capital city, Kinshasa, have been to school, whether male or female. In the conflict-affected region of Katanga, the richest children have a similar chance of going to school as those in Kinshasa. But one in three of the poorest children have never been to school. The poorest girls in Katanga are the worst off of all: 44% have never been to school, compared with 17% of boys in the region.

India: Education inequalities leave a legacy of disadvantage for young people in some states Vast differences in access to education between different states in India in the mid-2000s are likely to have left large numbers of young people lacking basic skills needed to find secure employment and lead fulfilling lives. In 2005, over half of the poorest 7- to 16-year-olds in Bihar state had never been to school. Gender disparities for the poorest in Bihar were far wider than for the richest. The success in Kerala state, by contrast, provides an encouraging signal of the possibilities of narrowing inequalities: almost all had been to school, whether rich or poor, or male or female.[2]

Education and girls:

Increasingly, adolescent girls also face economic and social demands that further disrupt their education, spanning from household obligations and child labour to child marriage, gender-based violence and female genital cutting/mutilation. Recent estimates show that one-third of girls in the developing world are married before age 18, and one-third of women in the developing world give birth before age 20.

If all girls had secondary education in sub-Saharan Africa and South and West Asia, child marriage would fall by 64 per cent, from almost 2.9 million to just over 1 million. Inadequate or discriminatory legislation and policies often inhibit girls’ equal access to quality education. In countries such as Afghanistan and Pakistan, formal or written threats to close girls’ schools or end classes for girls have fueled gender motivated attacks on schools.[3]

Conclusion:
Despite overall progress in more children entering school over the past decade, insufficient attention has been paid to eliminating inequalities in education. Tackling inequality needs to be a central focus of goals being set after 2015, with specific measures included to reach those disadvantaged by factors such as gender, poverty, location, ethnicity or disability.

A target is needed that tracks progress of the lowest-performing group in each country to ensure that everyone, regardless of their circumstances, reaches the goals by 2030. While administrative and household data each have their strengths and weaknesses, improved household data will be essential post-2015 to enable better monitoring of progress for the most disadvantaged children.

End-Notes:

  1. http://www.worldmun.org/united-nations-human-rights-council/
  2. http://en.unesco.org/gem-report/sites/gem-report/files/220440E.pdf
  3. http://www.unicef.org/education/bege_70640.html

Written by: Sayed Qudrat Hashimy - International Law Student
E-mail: Sayedqudrathashimy[at]gmail.com , Mobile No.+91 900 8813333

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