It was November 16, 2004 that the following announcement was made:
“Internationally-known Multi-Platinum recording artist Clay Aiken became a National Ambassador for the U.S. Fund for UNICEF. A budding philanthropist and long time education advocate, Mr. Aiken will use his Ambassador status to help ensure that children everywhere are afforded a primary education.”
Since that time, Clay has been an active ambassador and has visited many places throughout the world. He also led the Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF program in 2005 and has done many Radio and Television PSA’s for UNICEF.
Since Clay’s emphasis is on education, I wondered what the educational goals and projects were like for UNICEF.
The following is from the UNICEF website and talks about the educational goals of UNICEF. It also gives us some facts about education throughout the world.
Education is a basic human right, vital to the development and well-being of individuals and societies as whole. UNICEF advocates quality basic education for all children — girls and boys — with an emphasis on gender equality and eliminating disparities of all kinds. UNICEF works with a range of local, national and international partners to realize the education and gender equality goals.
Education key data
- The number of children of primary school age not attending school fell from an estimated 115 million in 2002 to an estimated 101 million in 2007. Out of these, 53 million were girls.
- Worldwide, nearly 80 per cent of primary-school-age children attend school. In least developed countries, this figure is around 66 per cent.
- Primary school attendance is at nearly 61 per cent in West and Central Africa, nearly 70 per cent in Eastern and Southern Africa, 81 per cent in South Asia and 83 per cent in the Middle East and North Africa.
- The largest out-of-school population is in sub-Saharan Africa, where around 45.5 million children of primary school age are out of school. It is followed by South Asia (35 million), the Middle East and North Africa (6.7 million), East Asia and the Pacific (4.7 million) and Latin America and the Caribbean (4.2 million). (2007)
- Worldwide, only 49 per cent of children of secondary school age attend secondary school. The others are either still enrolled in primary schools or are out of school.
- Gender gaps in primary school attendance have almost closed in regions such as East Asia and the Pacific(primary school net enrolment rate is at 98% for boys and 97% for girls; net attendance rate is at 88% for boys and 88% for girls) and Central and Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States (primary school net enrolment rate is at 92% for boys and 90% for girls; net attendance rate is 94% for boys and 92% for girls). In Eastern and Southern Africa there are more girls attending primary school than boys(primary school net enrolment rate is at 83% for boys and 82% for girls; net attendance rate is 69% for boys and 70% for girls).
World-wide education of children is such an important part of our world. UNICEF is lucky that they have Clay Aiken working for them as an advocate for education throughout the world.
For more information, visit the UNICEF website.