UNICEF: More illiteracy in young people facing instability
Nearly 30 per cent of young people between the ages of 15 and 24 in countries affected by conflict and disaster are illiterate, triple the global...
United Nations: Nearly 30 per cent of young people between the ages of 15 and 24 in countries affected by conflict and disaster are illiterate, triple the global rate, the UN children's agency said on Thursday.
UNICEF said in a new study that among these 59 million young people, girls are at the biggest disadvantage when it comes to getting an education. It said four impoverished African countries with a long history of instability had the highest rates of young people unable to read or write -- Niger with 76 per cent, Chad with 69 per cent,South Sudan with 68 per cent and Central African Republic with 64 per cent.
"These numbers are a stark reminder of the tragic impact that crises have on children's education, their futures, and the stability and growth of their economies and societies," said UNICEF's new executive director, Henrietta Fore.
"An uneducated child who grows into an illiterate youth in a country ripped apart by conflict or destroyed by disasters may not have much of a chance." UNICEF said it used the last data from the UNESCO Institute for Statistics to calculate illiteracy rates among young people aged 15 to 24 in 27 of the 32 countries where the children's agency has launched humanitarian appeals.
Comparable data was not available for the five other countries, it said.
UNICEF said that despite the critical importance of schooling for boys and girls, only 3.6 per cent of humanitarian funding goes toward providing education for children living in emergencies, making it one of the least funded sectors in humanitarian appeals.
Overall, the agency estimates it will spend approximately USD 1 billion a year on education programs over the next four years. UNICEF urged governments and other partners to provide young children with access to quality early education programs, offer illiterate young people the opportunity to learn to read and write, and increase investment in education, particularly for the most disadvantaged.
"For all children to fully reap the benefits of learning, it is key that they get the best quality education possible, as early as possible," Fore said.