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25 Key Facts for Elementary Students

Global Campaign for Education

Do all children go to school?

  1. Every child should have the chance to go to school.  Education is a human right, which means that the world has determined that every person should receive an education. 
  2. This is now part of international law.
  3. The world's governments made a promise in the year 2000 that by the year 2015, they would make sure that every child in every country has the chance to finish elementary school.
  4. But, today more than 100 million elementary school age children around the world do not get to go to school.  In many cases, this is because their families are too poor to pay to send them to school, because they have to work to help their families survive, or because schools are too dangerous or too far away.

    How many is 100 million children?  That's nearly four times the number of elementary school-age children in the United States!
  5. Another 150 million children will drop out before they finish elementary school. In the United States, virtually all children finish elementary school.
  6. In Africa, more than half of all girls don't even finish elementary school, and only one out of every five girls goes to high school.

    Why is school important?

  7. School teaches important skills that help people throughout their lives.
  8. People who go to school are able to earn more money to support their families.
  9. Countries where more people go to school and learn to read and write are able to grow their economies more quickly and become less poor.
  10. Education helps people to stay healthy. 
    *  Mothers with an education are much more likely to make sure their children receive shots they need to protect them from deadly diseases. 
    *  In Africa, some children don't live to be five years old.  Children whose mothers received an elementary school education are much more likely to live past the age of five.
  11. Education helps people, especially women, to speak up and get involved in their communities and their governments.  This makes democracy stronger, and helps make sure men and women are treated equal. 

    Why don't some kids go to school?

  12. In many countries, families must pay money-- "fees" -- to send their children to school. Many families are too poor to pay fees or buy textbooks or school uniforms.
  13. Many children must work-either at home or at a paying job-to help their families survive.  They cannot afford to go to school instead.
  14. Sometimes schools are very far apart, so children must walk long distances to get to school.  This walk may be dangerous, especially for girls. 
  15. In some places, there may be as many as 100 or 150 children in each classroom, and not enough teachers or textbooks. 
  16. Teachers may not have enough education or training to teach their students well.  In this case, children may not go to school because they don't learn much anyway.

    What must some governments do to put all children in school?

  17. Countries must make school free for all children, and must try especially hard to help children with the most problems in getting into school, including poor children, girls, orphans, children with disabilities, and children forced to leave their homes because of war or a natural disaster.
  18. Governments must build more schools so children don't have to travel as far to get to schools.
  19. Countries must hire and train millions of new teachers to get all kids in school by the year 2015. They must make sure that these teachers include women as well as men.
  20. Schools must provide a quality education that actually teaches children the things they need to know.
  21. Rich countries and international groups must help poor countries get the money they need to do all of these things.
    *  Rich countries now give $2 billion each year to help poor countries pay for basic education.  They need to give $10 billion more per year to put all children in school by 2015.
    * The United States, for example, gives a total of $465 million each year -- the approximate cost of building just 17 U.S. high schools.

    What can you do to help?
  22. Participate in the 2006 Global Campaign for Education "Send My Friend to School" Week  (April 24-30, 2006).
  23. Make a poster or a cutout "friend"  that helps "make the case" for why all children should go to school.  Display your posters or "friends" at school and then give them or send them to your Congress members' district offices.
  24. Host a hearing in your classroom or school to discuss these issues.  A hearing is a meeting where panel members listen to other people argue for why education is important.
  25. Tell your members of Congress to do more to put all children in school.
  26. Tell your friends and family about what you've learned!

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