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02.02.2010 Education

Financial crisis threatens education of children

By GNA
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Financial crisis threatens education of children
February 01, 2010
Accra, Feb. 1, GNA - The 2010 Education for All Global Monitoring Report by UNESCO has warned that the education of children in the world's poorest nations is under threat as a result of the aftershock of the global financial crisis.

It said with 72 million children still out of school, the resultant effects of the crisis which included slower economic growth, rising poverty and budget pressures could erode the gains of the past decade in terms of making education affordable and accessible to all.

The report released on Monday by the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and copied to the Ghana News Agency in Accra said: "While rich countries nurture their economic recovery, many poor countries face the imminent prospect of education reversals".

It quoted Mr. Irina Bokova, Director General of UNESCO saying: "We cannot afford to create a lost generation of children who have been deprived of their chance for an education that might lift them out of poverty".

The report, developed annually by an independent team and published by UNESCO, assesses global progress towards the six Education for All goals to which over 160 countries committed themselves in 2000 under the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Under the title, "Reaching the Marginalized", it charts some spectacular advances in education over the past decade, a striking contrast with the "lost decade" of the 1990's.

The report said since 1999, the number of children out of school had reduced by 33 million and more children were completing a full cycle of primary education.

It said enrolment in most countries had increased by five times the rate achieved in 1990's adding, the ratio of boys and girls in school had also equalled.

The report said these developments dispelled the myth that poor countries were unable to achieve rapid progress in education.

It warned that many countries were likely to fall far short of the targets because of the failure of governments to address inequalities and of donors to deliver on pledges.

The report pointed out that ahead of a major international summit planned on the MDGs in 2010, lost opportunities for education would act as a brake on economic growth, poverty reduction, and progress in health and other sectors.

It urged rich countries and the Group of 20 to scale up the concessional aid required to avoid damaging budget adjustments in the poorest countries estimating that donors would have to bridge a financing gap of 16 billion dollars a year to meet the goal of universal primary education by 2015.

The report warned that reality might look worse than the picture provided in national data adding that household survey data analysis presented evidence that school records overstated the number of primary school age children in school by as much as 30 per cent.

GNA

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