Discrimination, government failure keep millions of children out of school, report shows
Children from India's Ghasiya tribe say they are called "dirty" and are discriminated against by the teachers and other students at an elementary school in Sonbhadra district in Uttar Pradesh state. (Jayshree Bajoria / Human Rights Watch)
School doors have been slammed on millions of children worldwide because of discriminatory laws and practices and the failure of governments to make sure would-be students get an education, according to a Human Rights Watch report released Friday.
Nearly 124 million children and adolescents, most of them between the ages of 6 and 15, are not attending school, the report concludes, citing information from the UNESCO Institute for Statistics.
“Governments have left children behind,” said Elin Martinez, a Human Rights Watch children’s rights researcher. “In many cases research has shown it comes down to the basic failure to implement and uphold provisions of the right to education.”
The report, titled “The Education Deficit: Failures to Protect and Fulfill the Right to Education in Global Development Agendas,” based its conclusions on its research in more than 40 countries over nearly 20 years. The report says many governments seem to lack the will to deliver education to children, sometimes failing to make school compulsory or even monitor school attendance.
In millions of cases, the cost to attend school and meet other requirements such as buying books stood as a barrier.
In the Democratic Republic of Congo, many children are forced to live and beg on the streets, driven there by the inability of their parents or guardians to pay for school.
Discrimination and school violence are also factors blocking children’s education, according to the report.
In Nepal, the report finds that teachers adhere to social or cultural traditions, such as denigrating people from lower castes, which “perpetuates discrimination in classrooms.” In some schools in India children from lower castes, once called “untouchables,” were made to sit separately in classrooms, or had to wait to eat their free school lunches until other students had eaten, according to the report. And schools predominantly catering to Palestinian Arab and Bedouin children receive less funding and are often overcrowded and understaffed.
The report also documents discrimination by government officials against children with disabilities, particularly in China and South Africa. In Russia and Serbia, the report says, children with disabilities “are disproportionately institutionalized, often with access Discrimination, government failure keep millions of children out of school, report shows - LA Times: