Unesco calls for girls access to primary education

March 6th, 2012 - 7:36 pm ICT by IANS  

Paris, March 6 (IANS) Launching its global atlas of gender equality, Unesco Tuesday called for action on further increasing enrolment of girls in primary education across the world.

The atlas was released ahead of International Women’s Day March 8.

“This atlas is a call for action. The growth in girls’ enrolment in primary education is a clear demonstration of strong political will to achieve the education for all goals,” said Unesco director-general Irina Bokova.

“But there are still great strides to be made in order to reach the large number of vulnerable girls and women who continue to be denied their right to education. We must address the root causes of this discrimination and target our action towards those most in needed,” she added.

The atlas of gender equality in education includes more than 120 maps, charts and tables featuring a wide range of sex-disaggregated indicators produced by the Unesco institute for statistics. The atlas enables readers to visualize the educational pathways of girls and boys in terms of access, participation and progression from pre-primary to tertiary education.

According to the UN body, girls in all parts of world have been the first to benefit from the efforts made to achieve universal primary education, especially since 1990.

“Two-thirds of countries have achieved gender parity at the primary level but access to secondary education remains a challenge for girls in many regions, especially in sub-Saharan Africa and south and west Asia,” says the Unesco.

The atlas illustrates the extent to which gender disparities in education have changed since 1970 and are shaped by factors such as national wealth, geographic location, investment in education and fields of study.

The atlas applauds the remarkable progress made in reducing the gender gap in school-life expectancy (SLE) has been in South and West Asia.

“The data reflects the commitment of governments and the international community to close the gender gap in education. But there is a tremendous difference between gender parity and gender equality,” said Hendrik van der Pol, director of the Unesco Institute for Statistics.

The print edition of the atlas, available in English, French and Spanish, will be accompanied by an online data mapping tool that enables users to track trends over time, adapt the maps and export the data.

The e-atlas will be regularly updated with the latest available data from the Unesco Institute for Statistics.

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