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  • Becky Clark

Why Every Child Deserves an Education

According to UNESCO, 258 million children and young people were out of school in 2018. That’s 59 million children of primary school age, 62 million of lower secondary school age and 138 million of upper secondary school age, who are not receiving an education.

Every child and young person should have access to education and the opportunities an education bring. Here are just a few reasons why.

A Basic Human Right

The right to education is not a privilege; it is a fundamental and universal human right, as outlined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. All individuals have the right to access education and governments are obliged to protect and fulfil the right to education. Not only is education in itself a basic human right, but it is essential for the exercise of other human rights.

A Means out of Poverty

Education can be an effective tool to support children and young people from marginalised communities out of poverty. Education has been proven to decrease inequalities and empower individuals to realise their potential and access opportunities.

171 million children could be supported out of poverty if all children were able to leave school with basic reading skills. Education has been shown to increase earnings by 10% for each extra year of schooling received.

Every child and young person should have the right to lift themselves out of poverty and, time and time again, education has been shown to be the key to this.

Empowers Women and Narrows the Gender Gap

There are 774 million illiterate adults in the world and a shocking two thirds of these are women. In sub-Saharan Africa, girls take 60 more years to complete primary school than the richest boys, whilst less than 40% of schools provide equal access to school education for girls and boys.

As conversation globally has turned towards the gender gap and what can be causing shocking levels of gender equality across the globe, it is clear that access to education is not only a pertinent cause of the gender gap, but it is also a powerful tool to tackle gender disparities.

Not only can education tackle the gender pay gap, with just one year of secondary school education improving a woman’s lifetime earnings by up to 20%, it provides more employment opportunities, empowers women to take alternative paths and increases female political participation. In addition, a formal education can reduce high levels of unintended pregnancies, and can be crucial in delaying young marriages, with uneducated women 3 times more likely to marry before the age of 18.

Improves Health Outcomes

Education has been shown to have a positive effect on health outcomes, whereas a lack of education can be detrimental to an individual’s health.

Aside from an increased likelihood of higher earnings which can support a healthier lifestyle and healthier diet choices, people with an education are less likely to work in jobs that can pose serious health risks, have more time to exercise and more resources to allocate to medical needs.

Education also has very positive social and psychological effects which can be key to an individual’s ability to manage stress, result in higher self-esteem and provide social networks, all of which support an individual’s mental wellbeing.

Importantly, education equips individuals with the knowledge and skills needed to develop healthy behaviours. It can provide a means for children and young people to learn how to support a healthy lifestyle through healthy eating and exercising. It also supports them to understand their health needs, know when to contact health providers for support and how to communicate effectively with them. Every child deserves access to an education that will support them to lead healthy happy lives.

Every Child Deserves the Chance to Fulfil their Potential

Think about where you would be now if you had never received education. Think about who you would be if you’d never gone to school. It’s impossible to really know because the impact that education has on our lives is immeasurable.

You probably wouldn’t have the job you have now if it wasn’t for education. You wouldn’t know the people you know. You wouldn’t have the same opportunity to find out what you’re passionate about and what you want to do with your life. You wouldn’t have had the chance to try so many new experiences and learn about the things you love doing in your free time now.

For many of us, education is a door into what we might become. It shows us opportunities we never knew we had. It’s a chance to learn about ourselves, learn about the world and our place within it. Every child deserves that chance to fulfil their potential and to become whoever they want to be.

If you want to find out more about how you can support children in Cameroon to access education and achieve their potential, visit our sponsorship and donation pages.

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