We know education is one of the most powerful weapons we can use in the fight against poverty. Why? Because an investment in children’s education is an investment in their future.
The lessons students learn in school will remain with them throughout their lives. Equipping a child with basic skills like reading, writing, numeracy and critical thinking enables her to understand information provided to her well beyond her school-aged years and gives her the opportunity to earn a meaningful livelihood.
For example, these skills could enable a student to become an adult who can read the dosage directions on her child’s medicine, give correct change to the market vendor selling her food and independently run her own business.
Without quality education, the consequences for girls can be devastating. In many countries, girls without an education are more likely to become child brides, more vulnerable to infectious diseases like HIV and more likely to die young.
If the world neglects the girls’ education crisis happening in countries across the globe, we could see these four risks become reality:
1. Nearly 250 million more girls will be married as children by 2030.
2. The number of lives lost each year due to failure to provide access to quality education by 2050 will equal the number of lives lost today to HIV/AIDS and malaria, among the top deadliest infectious diseases.
3. Over 1 in 4 people living in low-income countries could still be living in conditions of extreme poverty by 2050.
4. Low-income countries’ economic output per person (GDP per capita) will be nearly 70% lower in 2050 than it would be if all children were in school. This will create a loss of $1,800,000,000,000 – that’s $1.8 TRILLION – in low-income countries alone.
When girls miss out on education, we all lose.