|Studies in 20 countries, most of them in Africa, confirm what
has long been suspected: Children whose parents have died are less likely to attend school
than those who have not lost a parent and who are living with at least one parent.
the Central African Republic and Mozambique have the greatest gaps in school attendance
between children who are orphaned and those who are not. In Benin, for example, only 17% of children whose parents have died attend school,
compared to 50% of those with both parents still living. In most of the
countries surveyed, the average difference is 19 percentage points. Only Chad and Mali
have gaps of less than 10 percentage points.
Many children have both parents alive and well but are still denied their right
to education. In Mali and Niger, for example, rates of school attendance for children with
both parents alive are 29% and 28%, respectively the lowest in these surveys and lower
than the rates of attendance for orphaned children in many countries.
These figures challenge countries to ensure that the great loss children suffer when
parents die does not compromise childrens right to an education. Countries that have
managed to narrow the attendance gap have valuable lessons to share.
|Rwandan orphans tackle a school
assignment. Orphans have less access to services such as health and education than do
children with one or both parents living.