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September is back-to-school month

© UNICEF/ HQ06-0855/Edy Purnomo
INDONESIA: On 8 June, students clap and sing a song inside a UNICEF-supplied tent school in the village of Ngibikan in Bantul District in Yogyakarta Province.
September 2007 - For millions of children worldwide, September is back-to-school month. For millions of others, it is just business as usual.

Education is still an unfulfilled dream for far too many children. While their peers around the world are looking forward to their first day of class, children out of school will be waking up to yet another day of house chores, caring for their siblings, and fetching water or firewood.

Some will be working to help support their families. Others will be taking part in an armed conflict. Others still will be too scared by the conflict raging on around them to venture out. Many will be too poor to afford school.

According to UNICEF estimates from 2002, 115 million children of primary-school age are not attending school, more than half of them are girls.

Millions of children drop out of school before finishing primary education because of unaffordable school fees, lack of access, child labour and emergency situations like conflicts and natural disasters.

Girls continue to face higher barriers to getting into school. Many of them are denied an education because of cultural beliefs favouring boys, the lack of adequate sanitation facilities, the threat of violence and discrimination. 

Education is a right for every child. Children who are denied this right are more vulnerable to poverty, disease, exploitation, abuse and trafficking. Girls who do not get an education are more likely to marry young, die in childbirth, and be excluded from decisions affecting them and their families.

Children who get an education are more likely to contribute fully to political, economic and social life. Educated girls grow up to be mothers whose children are more likely to receive better nutrition and care and go to school. They will be better able to protect themselves and their children.

Related press releases and news notes:

10 August 2007 - UNICEF welcomes Jordan's offer of education to Iraqi children

10 August 2007 - UNICEF calls for protection of schools and learning spaces in Timor Leste

29 JUNE 2007 - Education under fire

5 June 2007 - Palestinian youth in northern Lebanon head back to school two weeks into refugee camp crisis

23 April 2007 - On Global Action Week on Education, millions of children still not in school

2 April 2007 - School enrolment more than doubles in Southern Sudan as new academic year opens 

21 March 2007 - Millions of Afghan children head back to school




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