2005. 61 p.
Human Rights Watch
At the Millennium Summit in 2000, governments reaffirmed ambitious commitments- to ensure that by 2015, every child around the world is able to attend and complete primary school, and to ensure that by 2005, as many girls as boys would be attending school. Five years after the summit, school attendance has increased in many parts of the world, but education remains beyond the reach of many millions of the world's children, particularly girls. An estimated sixty million girls and forty million boys are still out of school.The benefits of education to both children and broader society could not be more clear. Education breaks generational cycles of poverty by enabling children to gain skills and knowledge for better jobs. Education is strongly linked to concrete improvements in health and nutrition, improving children's very chances for survival. Education empowers children to be full and active participants in society, able to exercise their rights and engage in civil and political life. Education is also a powerful protection factor: children who are in school are less likely to come into conflict with the law and much less vulnerable to rampant forms of child exploitation, including child labor, trafficking, and recruitment into armed groups and forces.Access to free and compulsory primary schooling is already guaranteed by the nearly universally ratified Convention on the Rights of the Child. However, progress in realizing this right is woefully slow. In more than thirty investigations around the world, Human Rights Watch has repeatedly found significant and systematic barriers to safe and accessible schooling that violate children's rights to an education, undermine their ability to learn, and cause them to drop out.For many children, particularly those from poor families, school fees and related costs of schooling put education beyond their reach. Fees imposed by schools may include fees for tuition, matriculation, exams and a range of other expenses, including electricity, water, heat, teacher's bonuses, and costs of maintenance. In addition, many families must pay for uniforms, books, other school supplies and transportation. In more than a dozen countries, Human Rights Watch found that these combined costs often cause children to drop out of school, start late, or never attend at all.
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