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Does your child “have to” or “get to” go to school?

Child Going to SchoolThe United Nations has created eight “Millennium Development Goals,” to be achieved by the year 2015.  One of these goals is Universal Primary Education, “to ensure that by 2015, children everywhere, boys and girls alike will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling.” 

Since the inception of the “Millennium Development Goals,” there has been substantial progress in many developing nations (most notably in China, Chile, Cuba, and Sri Lanka). There are many organizations working toward continued expansion and access to education across the globe (e.g., UNICEF, Oxfam International, Save the Children, Peace Corps, United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization – UNESCO, the World Bank, etc.).

Still, there are hundreds of millions of children worldwide who do not have opportunities for basic primary education, and there are large gender disparities (e.g., in South Asia 52% of boys and only 33% of girls are enrolled in primary school; in sub-Saharan Africa just 27% of boys and 22% of girls are enrolled).  Our children should understand that for hundreds of millions of other children across the world education is not a guarantee or entitlement.  Of course it is natural for children to complain, “Why do I have to go to school?!” 

But every “Maximum Strength Parent” should be armed with this global school enrollment information to share with their children (in a developmentally appropriate manner) to help their children respect and treat their education as the gift that it truly is.