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Opinion: Lack of Education for Girls Needs to be Conversation of 2015

Opinion: Lack of Education for Girls Needs to be Conversation of 2015

As out-of-school numbers continue to grow on a global level with a majority of them being girls never enrolled, UN special envoy for global education Gordon Brown argues for innovation and increased efforts to address what he says is "the civil rights struggle of our time."

Brown argues for a fight for universal education, for "a demand to end prejudice, discrimination and exclusion; and for ours to be the first generation in history to guarantee every single girl basic rights," he said on the Guardian.com.

Brown gives many harrowing examples of girls struggling against daily battles preventing them from getting an education including child labor, child marriage, and child trafficking.

One example is of 13-year-old Dilan, a girl who fled Syria with her mother in what would become a mass exodus from the civil-war stricken country and was forced into child labor in their struggle to find a place to live.

"Now, at 13, [Dilan] wants to get back to school, become a teacher and one day help rebuild Syria. She is one of 1,000 global youth ambassadors for education, and is campaigning for 500,000 Syrian refugees to attend Lebanese schools," Brown said.

He gives examples of other girls who fought against all odds to overcome personal struggle and find a way to an education to become young leaders and champions of every child's right to an education.

"These everyday stories of courage are repeated thousands of times over in girl-led movements such as the Nilphamari child marriage free zone in Bangladesh, Nepal’s Common Forum for Kalmal Hari Freedom, Indonesia’s Grobogan Child Empowerment Group and the Upper Manya Krobo Rights of the Child Club," he said.

With 124 million children currently out of school according to today's UNESCO figures, and with statistics like 80 percent of out-of-school girls unlikely to ever be enrolled in south and west Asia, Brown argues for innovation in efforts for universal education to be the conversation of 2015's global agenda.

"Ultimately, 2015 must be a year for global action, on developing a new sustainable development agenda, reaching a politically binding agreement on climate change -- and in the run up to the first ever World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul in May next year, real and meaningful progress toward protecting and educating the world's children," he said on CNN.com. . 

"While shelter, food and health care are vital to survival, it is education -- and the idea that you can prepare and plan for your future -- that, if curtailed or neglected, deprives young people of hope."

Read the full article here and comment below.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

07/06/2015

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