Small Voices, Big Dream 2016

A survey of more than 6,000 children around the world reveals their views on education and school

Small Voices, Big Dreams report

Small Voices, Big Dreams 2016

The Right to Safe, Meaningful Education

Small Voices, Big Dreams 2016 thumbnail

When ChildFund Alliance set out to survey children around the world about their views on school and education, we expected them to tell us that going to school is important. We were thrilled when a definitive 98% of the 6,000-plus 10- to 12-year-olds we talked to said that education is, indeed, important to them.

We learned that what children love most about schools includes new things and working with their teachers. Almost half said that getting an education will help them get a good job when they grow up. Many see it as allowing them to make a difference in their country or to make them a better person.

On a less positive note, only 60% of the children surveyed around the world said their school is always safe. On average, 3% of children said their school is never safe; in one country, a shocking 20% said their school is never safe.

This statistic is worrying, as safety is a prerequisite for learning. World leaders recognized the importance of safe, meaningful education when they adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in September 2015. SDG 4 reads: “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.”

SDG 4 may seem overwhelmingly ambitious. Yet the number of children and young people not attending school has almost halved since the turn of the century and, thanks in part to the millennium development goals, in most countries there are now as many girls as boys in primary school.

This is critical. We know that if young girls are able to access and complete primary and secondary education, the number of child marriages and early pregnancies will go down, while the opportunity for women to participate in society and contribute directly to the economy will increase. In addition, each additional year of education a child receives increases her or his adult earning by, on average, about 10%.

ChildFund Alliance is committed to providing children with a safe, quality education. Thank you for your support in making this a reality for so many children around the world. We can’t do it without you.

Meg Gardinier
Secretary General