The Reality of Children’s Education

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By: Samiya Gupta

When asked to envision the average day of a seven-year-old, the picture of a classroom with colorful posters, a welcoming library, and a teacher handing out worksheets may come to mind. However, this is not the case for many children around the world. Children’s education has improved, but there is still a long, needed journey before all children can receive a quality education.

Around the world, in 2018, 258 million children and youth were out of school. Of these children, girls face more difficulties than boys in accessing education at the primary level. In countries facing fragility, conflict, and violence (FCV), girls are 2.5 times more likely than boys to be out of school at the primary level.

To see the implications of the lack of education for children, there are currently 73 million illiterate adults around the world. To prevent this number from rising, more children must be educated. The baseline of literacy is an important metric for children and citizens to reach. Without it, children cannot learn more, explore new topics, gain an in-depth understanding of what they are learning, and advance in their life.

It is not only important to see the number of children being provided an education; the quality of education around the world varies too. Access to learning resources, like books, trained teachers, and other resources impact the quality of education a child can receive. For example, in sub-Saharan Africa, an average teacher performs on par with the highest performing sixth grade students. When it comes to access to books, almost one in five children from 8,210 five to eight-year-olds surveyed expressed that they do not own a book of their own.

While progress has been made over time, the COVID-19 pandemic has hindered the education of many students around the world. During the COVID-19 pandemic, over 190 countries implemented school closures. Due to this, over 500 million children and youth were not able to access education via socially distanced methods. This has widened the disparity in access to education for children, hindering those that were not able to access their education via socially distanced methods. In the United States alone, 50% of students, as estimated by public school teachers, started the 2021-2022 school year behind by at least one grade level. This is a 13% increase from the 36% of students prior to the pandemic.

With statistics looking bleak, what progress can be made? Many schools around the United States offered tutoring services to aid in students’ progress. The intensity of the tutoring varied from at least 30 minutes a session for three or more sessions a week to self paced tutoring. However, not every school has access to teachers with specialized training and the resources to offer any kind of tutoring at all, leaving behind the children who do not have these resources at their disposal. Steps are being taken to improve the education of children around the world, but there is still a long way to go. Organizations, like LiteracyMovement4More, aim to close this gap in education disparities by donating books, school supplies, and more. They especially focus on helping children from marginalized backgrounds, aiming to break through racial and socioeconomic differences. With these organizations and the increasing awareness they are raising, this gap can hopefully be closed, bringing quality education to children around the world.

Works Cited

“About.” Literacy Movement 4 More, Accessed 3 June 2023.

Camera, Lauren, and Kaia Hubbard. “New Data Shows That Just as Many Students Are Behind Grade Level as Last Year.”, 9 February 2023, Accessed 3 June 2023.

“COVID-19: At least a third of the world's schoolchildren unable to access remote learning during school closures, new report says.” UNICEF, 26 August 2020, Accessed 3 June 2023.

“Girls' Education Overview.” World Bank, Accessed 3 June 2023.

“Literacy | UNESCO UIS.” UNESCO Institute for Statistics, Accessed 3 June 2023.

“— SDG Indicators.” — SDG Indicators, Accessed 3 June 2023.

“Teaching Literacy in Your K-12 Classrooms.” Online master's in education degrees at KU, Accessed 3 June 2023.

“World Development Report 2018: Learning to Realize Education's Promise.” World Bank, Accessed 3 June 2023.

“Young (aged 5 to 8) children's reading in 2022.” National Literacy Trust, Accessed 3 June 2023.

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The Reality of Children’s Education
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