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UNICEF publishes a report revealing the situation of adolescents in the world

11/08/2012: General House

FMSI is working to give a better world to children, adolescents and youth, so that their rights may be respected and protected, and they may grow up and mature in a healthy and safe environment, free from  violence or fear, in expectation of a future full of hope and opportunities. FMSI updates its sources of information and offers them to those interested. This report from UNICEF presents information relevant to our work.

(1) In the course of the last 20 years,  adolescents have benefitted from progress in education and public health. At the same time, however, the needs of numerous adolescents are neglected; more than one million lose their lives each year, and dozens of thousands have no access to education. This is what the report of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), stated on 24 April. The document cites, for example, the south Sahara, Africa, as the place where life is most difficult for the adolescent. The number of adolescents in this region is growing ; according to estimates, there will be more adolescents in this place than anywhere else in the world in 2050. But only half the children of the south Sahara finish primary school, and youth unemployment is very high. The publication underlines the alarming consequences of the fact that the benefits of progress are not shared in a fair way among the 1,2 thousand adolescents – boys and girls from 10 to 19 – alive today in the world.

Greater Investments

The report insists on strengthening the investments in all aspects of the life and wellbeing of children and adolescents, including the struggle for survival. Children crossing the threshold of adolescence face a greater risk of violence – a change with respect to early childhood, when sickness and malnutrition are the principal threats. Adolescents are particularly vulnerable to violence in the home. They are often forced, girls especially, to leave childhood and take on adult roles before they are ready, limiting their  chances of learning and growing up, and endangering their health.

Education

Worldwide, 90 % of children of school age are enrolled in primary schools, and secondary education is widespread in many countries. But enrolment in secondary schools remains low in developing countries, especially in Africa and Asia. Numerous pupils of an age to attend secondary school are in primary schools. It is in the south Sahara that one finds the worst indicators in the world in regard to secondary teaching. Nearly 71 million boys and girls who should be in their first years of secondary do not go to school, and 127 million young people between 15 and 24 are illiterate –the great majority in South Asia and in Africa, in the south Sahara.

The report states that significant efforts in the defence of rights are necessary, as well as  programmes and policies to give concrete form to the rights of all adolescents. But the report also emphasizes that adolescents must be recognized as true agents of change in their communities. Programmes and policies, to the extent that they consider adolescents as persons in the way of development, must recognize their capacity for innovation, creativity and energy to resolve their own problems.

The report is available only in English : http://www.unicef.org/publications/

(1) Original text: Eduardo Hirata

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