UNICEF report highlights schooling inequality in wealthy nations

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UNITED NATIONS, Oct. 29 (Xinhua) — High national wealth does not guarantee equal access to a quality education, according to a release by the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) on Monday.

The UN body said it would issue a report over the issue on Tuesday, shedding more light on education equality in rich countries.

The report incorporates new data from 41 wealthy members of the European Union and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Countries were assessed on their children’s access to quality education, and differences in performance among children from preschool to primary school levels.

According to the report, some of the countries surveyed, such as Latvia and Lithuania, demonstrate higher preschool enrollment and more compatible reading performance among its students than wealthier countries.

The survey was conducted by the UNICEF Office of Research-Innocenti.

Dr. Priscilla Idele, director for the research center, said in the release that rich countries “can and must” ramp up their efforts to ensure children from disadvantaged families meeting education standards, as they are most likely to fall behind.

The report advises modifications to early education programs, aid to low income families to reduce socio-economic disparities, and production of more data on the subject via longer, in-depth studies, to improve overall education accessibility and performance.

This report is part of the Innocenti Report Card initiative, designed to monitor and compare the performance of wealthy countries in securing the rights of children.

This research is intended to help ensure that all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education by 2030, a central focus of Sustainable Development Goal 4 one of 17 global goals set by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015.

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