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There are many barriers  which are unrelated to conflicts such as war, natural disaster, disturbances, and any other types of conflict which have prevented children from going to school in many countries. In   conflict zones throughout the world one can understand the reasons  schools are closed and why students stay out of school;  but in non conflict zones,  barriers  such  as poverty, gender discrimination, challenging geographies, untrained or no teachers at all,  and lack of educational facilities and supplies are impediments which have kept about 70 million children out of school. Some of these barriers are more pronounced in poor countries. Children living in north-east Africa, for instance,  are “the least likely to receive a good education” somli-children-in-a-camp-006      In some of these poor countries there are communities which have no schools at all, or the nearest schools are not within walking distances. Then there is the teacher problem as well – in some of such neighborhoods there are no teachers; or in some cases untrained or poorly trained teachers.  Lack of funding for providing classrooms 10barriers3    have spotlighted the major barriers to schooling, but it is not the only deterrent to schooling in non-conflict zones. Children with disabilities, gender discrimination, and household poverty are also barriers to education for many youngsters in many countries. 10barriers5   Some of the world’s 93 million children with disabilities have faced obstacles and have been denied schooling. Though advances have been made in educating girls,  more than 100 million young women are illiterate, denied opportunities for schooling simply because they are of the “wrong” gender in many societies. Some families are so poor that they cannot afford a single good meal per day. Unfortunately, in many of these poor countries the rich and  economically well-placed  care more about their children’s education  10barriers2    than they care about giving average education to poor kids

It is not only in the developing or underdeveloped world that young people are facing obstacles to basic education. Some very rich, very technologically advanced and developed countries have placed undue burdens to schooling upon their young and innocent citizens. In the United States for instance, 23 schools  were closed by Philadelphia’s state- run school commission in 2013 due to budget deficits. In the same year the Chicago Board of Education engaged in “the largest mass school closing in American history” by closing 49 elementary schools. The central arguments for closing schools in metropolitan U.S cities are usually based upon declining student enrollments and poor performance. While it may be true that students who are dispersed to other schools,  when theirs are closed,  do better academically, there is no denial that these students and their parents face inconveniences of relocation. One major drawback in reporting school closures is the assumption that all students so displaced will transfer 100 % to other schools. I have found no research to support this assumption, and no author has supplied any statistical data on the number of students who fail to transfer to other schools.

While barriers such as poverty, gender discrimination, and challenging geographies have kept children from poor developing countries out of school, children from developed countries like the United States have suffered only the inconveniences of relocating to other schools. Certainly children living in north-east Africa, for example, would gladly trade places with kids in Chicago or Philadelphia if they had the opportunity to walk many miles to school and from school. 70 million children out of school because of poverty, gender discrimination or inhospitable geographic conditions is a problem that can and should be addressed not only by the developing countries concerned, but by developed countries also. There is no better way to seek equitable distribution of world resources than in giving all children in the world equal opportunities to basic education.

 

References:

Cohen, R. M. (2016). ALTERNET, April 22, 2016. Retrieved from http://www.alternet.org/education/devastating-impact-school-closures-students-and-communities

Global Citizen, June2, 2014. Retrieved from https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/10-barriers-to-education-around-the-world-2/

Shepherd J. (2010) The Guardian, September 20, 2010. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/education/2010/sep/20/70m-get-no-education

 

 

 

 

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