By Paul Ndiho
April 23, 2010
Studies show that a child born to an educated mother is twice as likely to survive to the age of five as a child born to an uneducated mother. But many children in the Sub-Saharan Africa are denied even the chance to attend primary school.
Experts say that educating children helps reduce poverty, promotes gender equality and more. New U.S. legislation, led by New York Congresswoman Nita Lowey, calls on the United States to support an international Global Fund for Education for developing countries. The fund aims to achieve basic education for every child in the world by 2015.
“Access to quality education brings promise of a better life. No country has sustainable economic growth without achieving mere universal primary education and investing in girls education increases women’s income, delays the start of sexual activity, reduces infant mortality rates and increases women’s political participation.”
Educated girls are likely to marry later and have fewer children, who in turn will be more likely to be better nourished and educated. In sub-Saharan Africa, school and school related-fees are keeping children out of classrooms, as the fees can consume nearly a quarter of a poor family’s income. Actress Jessica Alba has just returned from Africa, where she observed how U.S. funding for global education is changing lives.
“Last month I visited Ghana, Senegal and South Africa and I saw myself the potential and impact of education. The parents I met were full of hope for their children’s future and wanted more than nothing for their children to go to school.”
Quality education can be a way out of poverty, but Jessica Alba says millions of Africa’s children receive little or no education.
“72 million children worldwide don’t have access to education. 60% of these kids live in Africa and most of them are girls.”
Research shows that HIV/AIDS infection rates are halved among young people who finish primary school. And estimates are that If every girl and boy received a complete primary education, at least 700,000 new cases of HIV could be prevented in a decade – another compelling reason to get Africa’s children into classrooms.