|Nearly a billion people will enter the 21st
century unable to read a book or sign their names and two thirds of them
are women. And they will live, as now, in more desperate poverty and
poorer health than those who can. They are the worlds functional
illiteratesand their numbers are growing.
The total includes more than 130 million school age children, 73 million of them girls, who are growing up in the developing world without access to basic education. Millions of others languish in substandard schools where little learning takes place.
The State of the Worlds Children 1999 report tells the stories of a world community unwilling to accept the consequences of illiteracy or to be denied the human right to a quality education. With the Convention on the Rights of the Child as a guiding framework, governments, policy makers, educators, community leaders, parents and children themselves are advancing an education revolution. Their goalEducation For All.
Theirs is a broad vision of education: as a human right and a force for social change; as the single most vital element in combating poverty, empowering women, safe-guarding children from exploitative and hazardous labour and sexual exploitation, promoting human rights and democracy, protecting the environment and controlling population growth. And as a path towards international peace and security.
This report is on their efforts and their progress. The Convention on the Rights of the Child is clear: Education is the foundation of a free and fulfilled life. It is the right of all children and the obligation of all governments.