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Policy Paper (3): A Review of the UN SDGs, Privatization and World Education

As of 2017, the United Nations estimated that 262 million children between the ages of 6 to 17 were out of school said International United Nations Watch.


As of 2017, the United Nations estimated that 262 million children between the ages of 6 to 17 were out of school — roughly one out of five school-aged children. Furthermore, more than half of children and adolescents in the 72 countries surveyed did not meet the minimum proficiency standards for reading and mathematics. 750 millions of adults remained illiterate, out of whom two thirds were women. Half the global illiterate population resides in South Asia, and a quarter in Sub-Saharan Africa in which less than half the schools have access to drinking water, electricity, computers and the internet. This part of the world also has the lowest proportion of primary school teachers with formal training, an issue stagnating on a global level.[1] Education around the world faces challenges of untrained staff, a lack of materials, poor sanitation, as well as the social challenges faced at home, causing children to attend school hungry, sick, exhausted from household tasks or work, presenting an obstacle to their learning ability. UNICEF considers the obstacles to education the “greatest global challenge to preparing children and adolescents for life, work and active citizenship.”[2] Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights underlines that education is a human right with elementary education needing to be compulsory, vocational education made generally available and higher education made accessible to all on the basis of merit.[3] As such, education is a right of the individual, and furthermore, an educated population forms the basis of a healthy and well-functioning society.

The benefits of education are known to reduce poverty, increase income for the individual and increase GDP growth; it reduces the risk of war and discourages crime; it promotes gender equality, reducing gender-based violence, maternal deaths, fertility rates, and child marriage; it promotes health by increasing the chance of vaccination and reducing malnourishment, and it combats HIV and AIDS. Children are also more likely to survive past the age of 5 if the mother is literate. Education strengthens civil society and increases the ability for social change.[4] Particularly, the importance of educating girls and women has benefits not only on an individual level, but on a vital societal level, showing gender equality and education as intersectional issues

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[1] “Sustainable Development Goals,” UN.

[2] “Education,” UNICEF.

[3] Article 26, “Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” UN.

[4] “Benefits,“ Global Partnership.