UN secretary general António Guterres says that 78 million girls and boys worldwide “don’t go to school at all” because of conflicts, climate disasters, and displacements.
According to him, tens of millions more children receive only sporadic teaching.
The UN chief said in a video message on Thursday that no one should be denied the chance to learn.
He said this while supporting the calls for more funding for education in emergencies spearheaded by the UN global fund, Education Cannot Wait (ECW).
“A full 222 million children experience blighted education today,’’ Mr. Guterres said.
However, he said 18 countries and private partners pledged $826 million for ECW on the opening day of the landmark conference to help such children.
“No matter who you are, no matter where you live, no matter what barriers stand in your way, you have a right to a quality education,” he said in an appeal for greater international efforts to ensure that more vulnerable children and youngsters get the chance to succeed.
Delivering his comments at the Education Cannot Wait for High-Level Financing Conference in Geneva, the Secretary-General welcomed the fact that since it was founded in 2017, the fund had trained 87,000 teachers and given education to seven million children in crisis.
As pledges from 18 countries and the private sector topped $826 million on the first day of the conference, UN Special Envoy for Global Education and Chair of ECW’s High-Level Steering Group, Gordon Brown, welcomed the international support for learning for all, an investment in sustainable peace.
“We are talking about the most isolated, desolate, neglected children of the world. We’re talking about girls who find themselves trafficked or forced into child labour or child marriage unless we can help them,” Mr. Brown said.