Tove R Wang, Chair of Save the Children’s global education portfolio, probes the reasons why millions of children are excluded from learning, and argues that if we make learning environments accessible, safe, protective, inclusive and stimulating, we can fulfil many more girls’ and boys’ right to education and learning.
World leaders made a bold and important promise in 2015: by 2030, every child will learn from inclusive quality education. No-one will be left behind. Although the world has made great progress in education in the last two decades, the challenge ahead of us is tremendous. 61 million primary school age children are out of school, and 130 million girls and boys complete four years in school without acquiring even basic literacy and numeracy skills (UNESCO, 2016).
I have met some of these children and their parents. I have observed crammed classrooms with children staring emptily into the air and I have wondered who walks home day after day, maybe year after year, losing their self-confidence, not having learned to read a simple sentence. I have talked with children who do not feel safe at school, or on their way there. I have talked with teachers and community members who are concerned because parents do not send their children to school, often because of financial barriers, discrimination or physical challenges.
Costs and lack of adequate financing present major challenges for reaching Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4) on education. However, a large number of barriers to children’s education relate to the physical and psycho-social learning environment. If we can make learning environments that are accessible, safe, protective, inclusive and stimulating, we can fulfil many more girls’ and boys’ right to education and learning…
Tove R Wang
Chair of Save the Children’s global education portfolio