Fact or Fiction - 67 million children shortchanged

September 13, 2011

September 8 is International Literacy Day. This year, Education International (EI) took as its Literacy Day theme “Teaching for peace and equality.” As noted on the EI website (www.ei-ie.org/en), “According to United Nations figures, 793 million adults continue to lack basic literacy skills; two-thirds of these adults are women. Around 67 million children are not in primary school, while 72 million adolescents are missing out on their right to secondary education. If current trends continue there could be more children out of school in 2015 than there are today.”

Students fitted with GPS

Elementary students in Ontario will wear global positioning system (GPS) devices this fall as part of ongoing research into children’s activity levels. Increasing childhood obesity rates (Statistics Canada reports that a quarter of Canadian school-aged children are overweight) have prompted researchers in London to study how children interact with the outside world. Previous research found that some children avoid playing on jungle gym equipment because older children monopolize it. Researchers also found that children are more likely to walk to school if the streets are tree lined, because they feel shielded from the traffic. Researcher Janet Loebach observed, “We tend to think that because we used to be kids, we understand their experience, but we really don’t.” The findings will guide cities, communities and schools in the design of better streets, parks, social gathering areas and playgrounds.