Progress for Children: A Report Card on Adolescents: Today, 18% of the world’s population is in the age between 10 and 19 years, these are 1.2 billion children and youths transitioning into adulthood. This period in young peoples’ lives is the gateway to adulthood: while building and shaping her or his skills, values and attitudes still greatly depending on a nurturing and protecting environment, they are taking on more responsibilities, and are at the same time exposed to more risks. UNICEF’s report card on the state of adolescents highlights the following:
- Some 71 million children of lower secondary school age (10-14 years) are not in school.
- Some 127 million youth between the ages of 15 and 24 are illiterate.
- Every year, 1.4 million adolescents die from road traffic injuries, complications of childbirth, suicide, violence, AIDS and other causes.
- An estimated 16 million births worldwide, are to girls aged 15–19, who are the most likely to experience complications and die of pregnancy related causes.
- An estimated 2.2 million adolescents, around 60% of them girls, are living with HIV, and many do not know they are infected.
- 215 million children (aged 12-17) are engaged in child labour.
Research has shown the value of education for an individual’s life as well as his or her immediate environment. Building on primary education, trough secondary education, adolescents expand their skills and ability to use information and knowledge to make informed decisions about their lives but also to grow stronger in defense and avoidance of the risks for themselves and others. The report makes a case for investing in adolescents and underlines:”There is a crucial need for educational opportunities that are meaningful for young people as future wage-earners, parents and citizens. The foundation for this is quality basic education, including primary and lower secondary education. […] Girls, in particular, must acquire the skills that will help them earn their livelihoods and become productive members of society.” Read the report …
The State of the World’s Children 2012: Children in an Urban World: The report focuses on the experience of children and young people in urban areas, especially the poorest and most marginalized. Traditionally the living conditions of children in rural and urban areas are compared. And in this regard children in urban settings tend to be better off than those in rural settings. But it masques the hardships endured by poorer urban children and hides the wide disparities in children’s rates of survival, nutritional status and education resulting from unequal access to services. The report shows that children from poor urban neighborhoods are among the least likely to attend school. Although a poor family might live close to a school they might not use its services, even if guards or fees do not bar entry, they may lack the sense of entitlement and empowerment.
The report highlights that poverty can severely limit a child’s education in urban areas: In Benin, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Venezuela, the education gap between the richest 20% and the poorest 20% is greater in urban than in rural areas. Pupils from the richest urban families in Venezuela have, on average, almost eight years more schooling than those from the poorest ones. Marginalized groups, including children living or working on the street, migrant children and the children of refugees and internally displaced persons, face particular challenges. Poor urban areas are the most challenging places for children to live. Read the report …