This photo from Wikimedia Commons shows secondary schoolgirls in Iraq.
Since the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, education has been recognised as a basic human right. Sadly, it remains only an aspiration for many of the world's children. For example, Christian Aid tells me today that only 10% of children in south Sudan finish primary school.
According to the Right to Education Project 69 million children in the world are still out of school. More than 700 million can't read. The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child listed 32 categories of vulnerable children who are particularly likely to be excluded from education. As quoted here these are:
"abandoned children; asylum seeking children; beggars; child labourers; child mothers; child prostitutes; children born out of wedlock; delinquent children; disabled children; displaced children; domestic servants; drug-using children; girls; HIV-infected children; homeless children; imprisoned children; indigenous children; married children; mentally ill children; migrant children; minority children; nomadic children; orphans; pregnant girls; refugee children; sans-papiers (children without identity papers); sexually exploited children; stateless children; street children; trafficked children; war-affected children and working children."The list itself is grim enough, but each category stands for so many suffering children being denied more than one basic human right. Education is a foundational right because it is what is often called an 'enabling right' because those who are educated are more able to secure other basic rights.
Christian Aid suggests today you give 5p for every year in education you have had.
Totting up my years makes me realize how privileged I am compared with so many children who never even get to primary school let alone finish it. I have had 2 years part-time pre-school education, 6 years full time primary, 8 years full time secondary (I repeated a year), 5 years full time higher education, plus 5 years part-time higher education.
Counting the part-time years as half-time my total is 22 and a half years in education! And that is only counting formal education.
I could add all the bits and pieces of work-related in-service training courses I've done and the informal learning that I still consider a life-long project and have access to relevant resources to work on this. Don't know how to measure that. I'll go for a round total of 50 years, so that's £2.50 in the kitty for Christian Aid. Doesn't seem much for so much education for which I am very thankful - I have enjoyed almost all of it (and still do!)