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Report lists world's worst places to be a school child

By the CNN Wire Staff
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Report: 69 million children who should be in school are not
  • Former prime minister: "Generations will be condemned to poverty" if education budgets are not protected
  • World leaders will meet at the Millennium Development Goals summit this week

(CNN) -- A new report released Monday lists Somalia, Eritrea and Haiti among the world's worst places to be a school child because of poor access to education.

The report, from the Global Campaign for Education based in South Africa, ranked countries on factors including access to basic education, teacher-to-student ratio and educational provision for girls. The report says 69 million children who should be in school are not.

The worldwide economic crisis has also taken its toll on education, the report states.

"Millions of children are becoming the victims of the financial crisis with poor countries' education budgets being cut by $4.6 billion a year," the study concluded. "In the last twelve months Kenya had to delay the provision for free education to 9.7 million children due to budgetary constraints."

Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who was recently appointed to the High Level Panel for the Global Campaign for Education, said in a news release that "generations will be condemned to poverty" if education budgets are not protected from the financial crisis.

The study says the unequal provision of education has led to 8.2 million children out of primary school in Nigeria, adding that many girls there receive six months of education in their lives.

The campaign is calling on world leaders meeting at the Millennium Development Goals summit in New York this week to make funding for education a priority to meet a target of universal access to basic schooling by 2015.

The campaign said greater access to education can also result in significant health improvements.

"The report shows that delivering education for all is highly achievable and brings other poverty dividends -- such as reducing HIV deaths by 7 million and doubling child survival by 50 percent -- if mothers are educated."