News / Africa

Report: African Children Need 'Education Friendly' Laws to Thrive

Children listen to a school teacher after the reopening of Mahamane Fondogoumo elementary school in the town center of Timbuktu, Mali, February 1, 2013.Children listen to a school teacher after the reopening of Mahamane Fondogoumo elementary school in the town center of Timbuktu, Mali, February 1, 2013.
x
Children listen to a school teacher after the reopening of Mahamane Fondogoumo elementary school in the town center of Timbuktu, Mali, February 1, 2013.
Children listen to a school teacher after the reopening of Mahamane Fondogoumo elementary school in the town center of Timbuktu, Mali, February 1, 2013.
Jennifer Lazuta
A new study finds opportunities for millions of children around the world are being limited by the failure of governments to enact adequate policy measures in areas seen as vital to a child’s healthy development. Researchers say this is particularly true in Africa, where critical gaps exist between what can be done and what is being done.

In a report released Wednesday, the World Policy Analysis Research Center, a University of California-based data center that studies global social and economic policy, said that while many countries around the world have made “impressive advances” when it comes to improving the lives of children, it isn’t enough.

Jody Heymann, founding director of the World Policy Analysis Center and a lead author on the report, and a team of researchers spent seven years looking at data from 193 countries around the world.

Heymann said that many countries have made great progress in improving a child’s welfare, but the goal now should be to see a child not only survive, but also to thrive.

“Certainly, there is no more fundamental goal than child survival. But for any of us - in our own families, communities, neighborhoods - we wouldn’t be satisfied with child survival being enough. So what would a reasonable goal mean? I think an equal chance at healthy development during childhood and an equal chance for a full and productive adulthood that follows it,” said Heymann.

Heymann said this includes such things as providing affordable, quality education to all school-age children, enforcing laws on child labor, enacting measures that allow parents to better provide for their children, and promoting equal rights and anti-discrimination policies, especially for girls and disabled children.

She said that when it comes to implementing and enacting such measures, government action does make a difference. One example is education.

“With the Millennium Development Goals, there was a great commitment to primary education, and in fact, there’s been incredibly important progress. Right now, only eight countries remain that charge any tuition for primary. Because there’s practically no tuition charge, children around the world, regardless of whether their families are living in poverty or not, get to attend primary school,” said Heymann.

Heymann said the same commitment must now be made for secondary education.

In sub-Saharan Africa, for example, more than 60 percent of countries still charge for secondary education. This has forced many students, particularly the poor and marginalized, to drop out after primary school.

Implementing such initiatives isn't always easy, especially in developing nations, where governments often face disproportionate political and financial challenges.

The African Union’s head of social welfare, John Strydom, recognizes these challenges, but said there is no reason why a country cannot adhere to the AU’s charters and action plans relating to the rights and welfare of children.  

“There is no excuse that our children should go uncared for on this continent. Some of our low-income countries are doing very well. So that is not in itself a reason why the needs of children cannot be catered for," Strydom. "The chances that they implement the provisions of these legal instruments are very good, because they have to report back to the African Union and it will not look good if they haven’t done proper, or good, child-friendly budgeting.”

In cases where funding is a concern, Heymann said there still are many policies with no that have associated financial cost that can improve a child’s opportunities.

“[One example is] child marriage. Child marriage is a huge barrier to girls completing secondary school. It puts their health at tremendous risk because girls are far more likely to marry young than boys. When they do, their own health is threatened by early pregnancy, which tends to follow, and the health of their child,” she said.

Heymann said the data shows that once countries implement and enact measures, such as a minimum age for marriage, major transformations can be seen on the overall welfare of children within the course of just a few years.

You May Like

Video For West Ukraine City, Conflict Far Away Yet Near

Physically and culturally close to Western Europe, Lviv feels solidarity with compatriots in country’s east but says they need to decide own future More

West African Women Disproportionately Affected by Ebola

Women's roles in families and the community put them at greater risk for contracting the disease, officials say More

Video NASA's MAVEN Spacecraft Arrives at Mars

Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution craft will measure rates at which gases escape Martian atmosphere into space More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbiti
X
September 22, 2014 9:20 PM
NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbit

NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video For West Ukraine City, Conflict Far Away Yet Near

The western Ukrainian city of Lviv prides itself on being both physically and culturally close to Western Europe. The Russian-backed separatists in the eastern part of the country are 1,200 kilometers away, and seemingly even farther away in their world view. Still, as VOA’s Al Pessin reports, the war is having an impact in Lviv.
Video

Video Saving Global Fish Stocks Starts in the Kitchen

With an estimated 90 percent of the world’s larger fish populations having already vanished, a growing number of people in the seafood industry are embracing the concept of sustainable fishing and farming practices. One American marine biologist turned restaurateur in Thailand is spreading the word among fellow chefs and customers. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Chinese Admiral Key in China’s Promotion of Sea Links

China’s President last week wrapped up landmark visits to India, Sri Lanka and Maldives, part of a broader campaign to promote a new “Maritime Silk Road” in Asia. The Chinese government’s promotion efforts rely heavily on the country’s best-known sailor, a 15th century eunuch named Zheng He. VOA's Bill Ide reports from the sailor’s hometown in Yunnan on the effort to promote China’s future by recalling its past.
Video

Video Experts Fear Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid