A few nights ago as I watched the evening news, I heard a statistic that really startled me. The story was about the teen activist who was shot by the Taliban in Pakistan for arguing for girls’ education. At the end of the segment ABC World News said that 32 million girls don’t go to school. Wow! The World Bank Education Statistics Newsletter confirmed that and even had an interesting graphic:
It looks like things have improved during the past decade, but there’s still a huge number of kids who don’t attend school. I knew that many girls (and boys) don’t have the opportunity to go to school, but had no idea that the numbers were that high! Did you? The newsletter shared that more than half the world’s out-of-school girls are in Sub Saharan Africa. One quarter of them are in South Asia (Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and other countries).
I read that 60% of countries don’t offer equal opportunity to education. Just why don’t girls go to school? Here are a few of the reasons:
- poverty — Many families are too poor to afford school. Even if there are no school fees, many families can’t afford the extras (books, clothes, etc.) Girls are often expected to work to help support the family.
- discrimination — If families can’t afford to educate all of their children, girls are more likely not to go to school than boys. Girls are often seen as potential homemakers.
- early marriage — One out of seven girls in developing countries are married before their fifteenth birthday.
- getting to school is dangerous
This story and that sad statistic makes me very thankful that our country has such a broad range of educational opportunities for our children.
In light of this information, you might be interested in the world’s largest education event… more about that tomorrow!