Education is a fundamental human right and is essential for realizing other human rights. Education empowers people by helping them to acquire skills, knowledge, values ??and attitudes that are critical to their basic socio-economic needs and sustainable development of their societies.
According to UNESCO, ‘Learning’ can be defined as the process of acquiring knowledge, skills and attitudes. ‘Quality learning’ encompasses processes through which people acquire the breadth and depth of knowledge, skills and attitudes that are fully engaged in their communities, express their ideas and talents and contribute positively to their societies.
New figures on the number of children out of school worldwide reveal that despite decades of efforts to get every child into the classroom, progress has come to a standstill. According to data from the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS), about 263 million children, adolescents and youth worldwide – one in every five – are out school, a figure that has barely changed over the past five years.
Those affected children are likely to come from fringes of society, including rural populations, working and street children, the disabled and cultural norms.
Relating the above to my observations and experience on Gambian children who are denied education, there are multiple attributable causes drawn from society, cultural beliefs, working and street children.
It breaks my heart to see children with their parents in the street or at main traffic intersections begging for money from passersby or commuters at a time when these children should be in school. These children are being commercialized on a money-making venture by their parents, denying them their right to education.
The people giving money or any other items to these begging children are also part of the problem. Their benevolence encourages children to beg. They are indirectly telling the children that it is okay to stay away from school and beg in the streets.
Another disturbing violation of the right of the child to education is the use of children as child workers by their own parents. You will see children daily in the streets during school days and late hours of the evening hawking for their parents.
The violation of children’s rights to education in The Gambia or elsewhere is very serious and should not be undervalued. Basic skills like reading and math are required in everyday life. A few lessons on proper hygiene and preventing pregnancies would prevent many unpleasant diseases and situations from happening. Families with uneducated children are likely stricken with poverty due to the deficit of schooling. Lack of education equals lack of proper job, which may result in too much free time that is often poorly utilized. They are also more likely to be exposed to gang violence, theft, drug use and other societal problems. They also have little possibility to get out of the unfortunate living cycle.
According to reference.com, lack of education can have serious effects on children and adults, and can affect health, living conditions and social situations. Many issues arise in communities due to a lack of education. Situations like teen pregnancy, gang violence, theft, drug use, and other crimes happen more frequently in noneducated settings.
The enforcement and strengthening of the institutions as spelled out in The Gambia Children’ s Act 2005 may serve as remedies to the issues discussed above.
To conclude and drawing reference from The Gambia Children’s Act 2005 as source of remedy:
· Right of a child to education must be enforced;
· Right of the child must be maintained;
· Prohibition of child marriage;
· Prohibition of exploitation; and
· Prohibition of child labor.
Happy 30th Anniversary of the Convention on the rights of the Child ([email protected]).
For every child, every right!
Isatou Alieu Awe, 14 years old
Marina International School and
Catch them Young mentee