UN Reports Large Gender Gap in Education Worldwide

A new United Nations reports shows a majority of the 115 million children worldwide who are excluded from receiving an education are girls. Afghanistan and Pakistan are the two countries with the widest gender gaps in education. The “Progress for Children” report states that barriers to achieving gender parity in education include poverty, HIV/AIDS and conflict. Though the report shows that more children are attending school overall, a “quantum leap” and an extra $5.6 billion a year in aid are needed to reach the Millennium Development Goal of achieving universal primary education by 2015, reports the UN News Service.

According to the Executive Director of UNICEF Carol Bellamy, “The goal of universal primary education with equal opportunity for girls and boys is realistic. It is affordable, it is achievable and what’s more, it’s our children’s birthright. Education is about more than just learning. In many countries it’s a life-saver, especially where girls are concerned. A girl out of school is more likely to fall prey to HIV/AIDS and less able to raise a healthy family,” reports UN News Service.

Meanwhile, the Global Campaign for Education is blaming 22 of the richest countries in the world for failing to provide the necessary funds to educate the world’s poor. According to BBC News, the Global Campaign for Education produced a report card for the 22 countries based on their spending on development aid in total and funding of education programs. Only two countries received an “A” grade – Norway and the Netherlands. The United States and Austria both received “F”s.

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UN News Service 4/18/05; UNICEF 4/15/05; BBC News 4/18/05, 4/17/05

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