The 10 Worst Places to Be a School-Aged Child

Filed under: In The News, Education: Big Kids, Research Reveals: Big Kids, Education: Tweens, Research Reveals: Tweens

Haiti School children

A boy reads a book on a bench at the Christian Light Ministries school in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The country is third on the list of worst places to be a school-aged child. Credit: Arnulfo Franco, AP

Issues like providing laptops for all students, the debate over school uniforms or banning Silly Bandz seem a tad trivial when you're ranking the worst places in the world to be a school-aged child.

Parents who fear their kids are getting a subpar education in American schools might want to check out new research that shows it could be so much worse.

A study released this week by the Global Campaign for Education, based in South Africa, shines the spotlight on the worst places in the world to be a school-aged child because of poor access to education.

Topping the list: Somalia, where only one out of every 10 children is enrolled in primary school. Africa dominates the list. Eritrea, a country in northeast Africa, and Haiti are ranked second and third, respectively. There's no question Haiti's education system is still reeling from the Jan. 12 earthquake. Haiti's government operates only 10 to 20 percent of primary schools, according to the study.

Worldwide, 69 million children go without school, entirely, missing out on access to literacy, job skills, social skills, better health and improved finances, the study reports.

The Top 10 Worst Places to Be a School Child:

1. Somalia
2. Eritrea
3. Haiti
4. Comoros
5. Ethiopia
6. Chad
7. Burkina Faso
8. Central African Republic
9. Mozambique
10. Zimbabwe

Factors that lead to bad marks include access to basic education, teacher-to-student ratio and a lack of educational provisions for girls.

Fueling this debacle in education is the worldwide economic crisis, the report states.

"Millions of children are becoming the victims of the financial crisis with poor countries' education budgets being cut by $4.6 billion a year," the study concludes. "In the last 12 months, Kenya had to delay the provision for free education to 9.7 million children due to budgetary constraints."

Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who recently was appointed to the High Level Panel for the Global Campaign for Education, says in a news release that "generations will be condemned to poverty" if education budgets are not protected from the financial crisis.

The study is calling on world leaders gathered this week at the Millennium Development Goals Summit in New York, to make funding for education a priority to meet a target of universal access to basic schooling by 2015.

While many countries have made progress -- Tanzania has enrolled 3 million more students since 2000 -- there is still a long way to go.

Related: Obama Enlists Governors To Raise Education Bar

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