ECPAT believes that achieving primary education for all children is a critically important goal and the Countdown to 2015 is vital to keep energy and commitments high. However, in the process we need to acknowledge the 5-10% of children that will be left behind because they are in situations that require special interventions to get them into a classroom, maintain their enrollment and ensure that they learn. These special interventions are complex, time intensive, costly and most often related to protection, rehabilitation and reintegration. Among this bottom 5-10 percent are child labourers, including those in situations of commercial sexual exploitation and domestic servitude, trafficked children, children living on the streets, children forced into situations of early marriage, and children without access to justice. They are the children most often forgotten in our quest to achieve global goals.
Unfortunately child protection was not included in the Millennium Development Goals and over the past 10-15 years very few resources have been allocated for the same. ECPAT believes that we have an ethical obligation to speak about the need for special attention and resources for those for whom there are ‘no easy fixes’ to get them into the classroom. Reaching and getting the bottom 5% of children into the classroom will require greater attention to child protection interventions and significant resources.
Tomorrow ECPAT will be attending the 2015 Global Education Countdown Summit. The Summit brings together organisations, campaigners, and youth leaders from around the world to work together to break down the barriers to education for the 57 million out-of-school children. Hundreds of millions more are not learning. At the current rate of progress, it will be 2086 before the last girl is able to go to attend primary school. Education is the only acceptable alternative to the discrimination faced by millions of children every day. Moreover, when children are deprived of education opportunities, the risk of sexual exploitation is amplified. All children deserve the opportunity to attend school and live free from commercial sexual exploitation. For more information about the Summit, click here.