Desired Outcome: All countries in the world will actively provide quality education for all children as a key contributor to ensure a safe and productive world.
A report from UNESCO summarizes the recent global information on 263 million children not in school. This number represents 1/5 of the global population eligible to attend primary and secondary schools settings of any kind. In addition, there are more than 125 million young children who lack basic reading and writing skills. Furthermore, it is estimated that at least 60 million children are refugees and/or “on the run” from oppression and other traumatizing issues. Their chances for success in life are less likely than their educated peers and their risk of undesirable conditions is likely to be greater.
UNESCO hosts an eAtlas of out-of-school children with links to numerous sources of information. A listing of countries with available data on percentage of students not in school is shown on this page.
What about the United States? The American Community Survey conducted by the US Census Bureau reported in 2016 that about 5,900,000 children are not attending either a public, private or home school. Data can be used to compare countries based on their percentage of students not in school. Comparing the data for the 15 Most Highly Developed Countries, the United States is poorly ranked on this metric with 9.5% of its children (ages 3-17) who are not in school. Similarly, comparing the data in these 15 countries for children aged 5-17 years old indicates that the USA has the highest percentage of students (3.2%) not enrolled in school. Other countries such as Singapore, Germany, Norway, Tuvalu and Tunisia are at or less than 0.3%; Sweden and Canada are less than 0.5%! Among the 173 countries listed by UNESCO, USA is ranked 74th, with countries like Malaysia and Algieria (0.8%), Mexico (1.2%) and Croatia(2.2%), as examples of countries educating a higher percentage of their students. This ranking means that 43% of the 173 nations educate a higher percentage of students than the US! Why is the US not addressing this issue?
We, as ambassadors for WEF-USA and the World Education Forum (Global), have our work cut out for us. It is also clear that collaborations among and between world educators, associations, policy makers and learning communities can and will make a difference in bridging this global, national, and humanistic divide! Together we can share challenges and successful strategies as we bring this relatively unknown issue to the forefront of our conversations and subsequent actions.
We believe that each country should be assuring that all children are educated. Each child has a right to a quality education so they can become who they are meant to be. We never know which children will grow up with the innate interest and skills to become tomorrow’s leaders, inventors, innovative problem solvers, and perhaps the authors of world peace.
How can we not embrace the power of a quality education for every child in every country?
Won’t you join us?