More money for weapons than for schools

More was done for children in the 1990s than ever before, but, still, 1 out of every 5 children never attends school, according to the latest UNICEF report, "The State of the World's Children 2002."

The report by the United Nations Children's Fund takes stock of the progress made toward targets set at a 1990 summit. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan appealed to the community of nations to make the concerns of children around the world a higher priority - despite the fact that a summit scheduled for this week has been postponed.

The UNICEF report reminds politicians that many places, including industrialized countries, still lack the political will to invest more in children's futures. Developing countries, for instance, have been spending more money on weapons (around 9 percent on average) than education (8 percent).

One goal set by the first children's summit in 1990 was to make it possible within 10 years for every child to receive at least a basic education. On average, 82 percent of the world's children go to school - 4 percent more than a decade ago. Nevertheless, this still means that around 100 million children do not go to school - ever - and a further 150 million children fail to finish school.

The report highlights one crucial failing: three-fifths of those who do not attend school are girls. It points out that educating women helps to reduce population growth and infant-mortality rates.

Compiled from news wires

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