“Education of children helps to reduce gender inequality, the incidence of disease — including HIV/AIDS, malaria — and poverty.
Click on the MDG icons above (on the top left of this webpage) to go to Global Development Group's dedicated webpage on the MDGs. From here you can look at the detail of each MDG 1-8 and also link to how we as the world are doing so far in actually achieving the MDG goals so far - courtesy of the MDG Monitor site (which monitors the achievement of the MDGs).
Click here to download a PDF information sheet on this topic.
'What is MDG#2 about?' Samantha Major, staff member at Global Development Group answers below.
Continuing Series: Keep checking the GDG website over the coming months as our next 6 development issues will focus on the remaining 6 MDGs in turn, starting with our next issue on 'MDG#3 - Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women' [coming May 2010]
* What are the MDGs?
* Intro to WASH Projects
This webpage (and pdf above) are part of Global Development Group's advocacy efforts for the development sector to help inform and educate our partners, donors and the general public about the issues and priorities of aid and development.
Achieve Universal Primary Education
Global Development Group is committed to helping achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). You can find a brief introduction to these in our Development Issue: What are the MDG’s? (February edition), and on our website: www.globaldevelopment.org.au/mdg
The second MDG is, Achieve Universal Primary Education.
Our side of the globe seems to take it for granted that in most cases a child under the age of 13 and over the age of 6 would be attending a primary school. We have private schools, special schools, public schools, specialised schools, anything and everything, but not all of the world’s children are so fortunate.
According to a 2006 UNICEF report*, globally 93.1 million children don’t go to primary school.
Graph: Number of primary-school-age children not in school, by region (2006)*
Most of these are in the third world:
* In sub-Sahara Africa, 19% of primary age children do not attend school.
* In southern Asia, less than 10% do not go to school, but that’s 31.5 million children - still well more than the entire population of Australia.
What difference does Primary School Education make? How critical is it?
Education is crucial to overcoming established cultural practices that hinder development. The education of children helps to reduce gender inequality, the incidence of disease – including HIV/AIDS, malaria—and poverty. Educated girls tend to marry later and have fewer children, who will have a greater chance of survival, suffer less from malnutrition and be better educated in turn. Schools usually provide a safer environment for children where they can find friendship and access to toilets, clean water, food and health care, all within adult supervision. Conversely, denying children access to quality education increases their vulnerability to abuse, exploitation and disease – especially for girls.
MDG #2: has the following specific objectives:
* Increase net enrolment ratio in primary education.
* Increase proportion of pupils starting grade 1 who reach last grade of primary.
* Increase literacy rate of 15-24 year-olds, women and men.
Global Development Group has a number of projects that tackle this MDG #2 head on:
In Kibera, Kenya – Africa’s poorest and overcrowded inner city slum— is a project that includes a school with 1,074 students. Grades start at ‘Baby Class’ through to ‘Pre-Primary’ with more than 70 students in each class. Sadly these students share text books (up to one per four students) and not all have exercise books, pens or pencils.
Subjects taught in years 1 to 8 include English, Mathematics, Religious Education, Social Studies, Sciences and Kiswhali. Thirty percent of the students’ parents are able to pay for school fees. These school fees are also used to give the student’s lunch of maize, beans & dried veggie mix (J489).
Another project in the Philippines focuses on rescuing and educating “at risk” street children. The children are evaluated and placed in classes at their level of ability within the school.
The education program allows students to progress at a faster pace than would normally be available in a public school system and they complete two years of school in one year. School also brings some stability in their lives after being on the streets and suffering neglect and abuse.
The students are also offered music lessons, art & craft and training in basic agricultural skills (J519).
In Kenya one of our large projects has 5 regional centres rescuing vulnerable street children and orphans. Education includes primary, secondary, vocational and higher education.
The programs include Baby Class, Nursery and Pre-Primary; followed by Primary School (Grades 1 to 8), Secondary School (Grades 1 to 4) and Vocational Training in agriculture (J425).
One project in Laos focuses on literacy and education through publishing books – more than 100 titles so far – and in 2008 alone, provided 30,000 Laos children with their first ever book.
They are now launching small village libraries in northern Laos with a village festival or school book party to help raise enthusiasm for books, which are then managed by a teacher or responsible village adult (J557P).
These are just some of the many Global Development Group projects focussing on achieving MDG#2: Achieving Universal Primary Education.
Education - at the very least, complete Primary Education - is a fundamental human right in its own right. It is indisputable that Primary Education is vitally essential for individual mental and social development, for self actualisation and for helping to produce socially aware and active, fully functioning citizens who impact their society and the world for good. Much still needs to be done to ensure that a high proportion of children - especially girls - not only start but also finish Primary School rather than dropping out early.
Primary School is also an essential foundation for Secondary School - and the benefits of children attending Secondary School have an exponential affect on their ability to function meaningfully at all levels of society, and on their income earning capacity.
(Primary Education is a significant focus of a development project with the Karen people in Thailand (J377))
We must continue to do all we can to ensure that Millennium Development Goal #2 - ACHIEVE UNIVERSAL PRIMARY EDUCATION - actually comes to pass for all children, everywhere.