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The findings > Thematic Studies> Excluded>Part 2
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II PATTERNS OF EXCLUSION: CAUSES AND CONDITIONS
 
Ultimately, it is the children themselves who suffer the problem of exclusion. It is the individual child who does not have a chance to experience effective and relevant education and whose present situation and future options are, in consequence, put at risk. But while children suffer the problem, they neither create nor maintain their exclusion. They are denied education, or decline to participate, almost always as a consequence of exclusionary conditions not of their own making. Within the framework of the CRC, neither these conditions nor the decision not to participate (whether or not consciously taken) can mitigate the obligation of their families, communities and governments, or of international agencies, to ensure them access and quality. The "problem", therefore, rests in these hands, as those with the responsibility and power to take actions which make education readily available to children in forms appropriate to their learning, and to avoid any which do not.
 
The preceding section attempted to define a framework for considering exclusion as a complex socio-political and institutional phenomenon. This present section looks in more detail at (1) how education systems and schools are continuing to exclude, by failing to pull vulnerable children in and pushing others out; and (2) the conditions and factors in society which similarly create exclusion, by denying many children access to effective education and by making it difficult for other children to learn. .
 
1. How Education Systems and Schools Create Excluded Children
 
Exclusion is interactive. Non-enrolment, passivity, absenteeism, repetition and eventually dropping out are the signs and symptoms of an intricate web of education-related factors which play out in a process of being and becoming excluded on an individual and social level. When schools push some children out and fail to draw others in, they are functioning as part of both an education system and a wider social, economic and political context which exclude. It is not sufficient, therefore, to focus at the micro level of the school and forget the politics of its macro environment; nor vice-versa.
 
If genuine change is to happen toward creating inclusive learning environments for vulnerable and marginalized children, it is critical to keep in mind that it is each child as an individual who is at risk and being harmed by the forces excluding them. It is easy to talk about "the poor", "street children" or "girls". But talking in the aggregate leads to thinking in the abstract and taking little relevant action. Ultimately, it is a specific young girl who is kept at home to care for siblings, or adolescent boy from the slum who avoids school because the teacher abuses him. It is insufficient to talk about, analyse and plan on the basis solely of excluded children in the generic.
 
It is necessary also to talk, analyse and plan with the specific child who is being affected: to understand who she is, why she is there, what she is doing and under what circumstances she would be willing participate in education. All children living in poverty may not be in school for broadly similar reasons. Because of this, macro policies and education systems matter. But the specific conditions under which each child and his/her family will decide, or be able, to participate, and the actions they take, will be unique. They will depend on the comparative advantage they see in the alternatives, the costs and benefits they perceive and the stress caused them by lost options.
 
While self-evident, both the macro and micro perspectives are the reality of exclusion, and complicate significantly any discussion of causes, consequences, who is affected and how to address it. They force consideration of a multiplicity of individual, community and situational factors, and the interactions among them, in trying to understand why exclusion is happening and the interventions needed to reverse it. Macro-level poverty alleviation and better curriculum will go some way to getting children into school; they will not get all of them there or help them learn effectively when they are. The following section attempts to untangle some of the strands of the exclusionary knot by considering ways in which it happens at the three systems levels -- of school, bureaucracy and national policy. The aim is to begin to create a better analytical tool for looking at the dynamics which keep children from effective learning, factors which might then serve as proxy indicators for finding those children and as more precise levers for affecting change.
 
1a) Exclusion at the Micro Level: The School
 
Schools exclude at the micro level by what they are and what they do - and do not do. They exclude when they are not learner-friendly, do not support their teachers as professionals and do not welcome families as partners. They exclude by their inability to provide competent and learner-appropriate teaching methods, relevant curriculum materials, or health and safety-promoting facilities. They exclude because they are often places of "pervasive grimness", overcrowded and dark, with "little to engage the students" or encourage teachers who, in turn, "resort to rigid discipline and corporal punishment" or fail to turn up. (UNICEF/a/:9)
 
Schools exclude when they fail to create a culture of peace; when they fail to take affirmative and uncompromising action to end all forms of harassment, abuse and violence. In and around schools, between teachers and students and among students themselves, psychological and physical threats, abuse and actual violence are globally becoming matters of serious, sometimes tragic, concern. Girls are especially vulnerable in schools which fail to serve as "safe havens" from sexual harassment, physical attack or abusive corporal punishment, often by teachers. But boys, too, are at risk. While more often the perpetrators of violence, many come to that role as the victims of earlier abuse.
 
Schools in remote areas and inner city slums, those serving communities the least able to demand better, may be unmotivated or unable to apply behaviours which ensure the safety and protection of children. They are often assigned principals and teachers who are not happy to be there, especially if they are from a better-off community outside. Where the community itself is deprived or marginalized, even local staff may be less than effective: poorly trained (those who do have training often leave), largely unsupervised, with few teaching resources. There is little in this to enable or encourage the kind teaching which creates an inclusive, effective classroom. With few teachers able to use responsive, interactive teaching strategies, those schools are more likely to use power rather than participation as a means of managing behaviour, and less likely to have positive disciplinary alternatives to corporal punishment. Exclusionary factors are inter-dependent. Where such methods do not actually push children out, they can generate an increasingly dysfunctional school climate leading to antagonistic, abusive or violent responses in some children, or passive resistance and truancy in others. They can also produce burn out, inertia and abuse on the part of teachers themselves.
 
Schools exclude when they apply narrow paradigms of what children are and how they learn; when they are unable to deal with diversity. Children from "different cultures, environments, and social classes are exposed to different materials, experiences and informal teaching by their families and neighbours, and this results in the appearance of different competencies at different times" (Hart/UNICEF:26). Schools which recognize only one kind of intelligence, one notion of what a child of a certain age and characteristics (ability, background, gender) can do, and one way of transferring information, exclude. They fail to recognize, and so to accommodate, what each child brings as learning capacities and interests. These are individual characteristics which play a significant part in how children "make the transition to schooling, how they make use of what school offers and how long they stay at school and with what success" (Comber:3) The professionally weak, narrowly traditional or simply uncaring school risks excluding all children, but especially those from already marginalized backgrounds, by being pedagogically inflexible; by controlling, telling and punishing children rather than understanding them and facilitating their active participation in their own learning.
 
In this same vein, an inner-city school excludes when, with students from a broad mix of racial, ethnic and language groups, it allows children from various backgrounds to be over-looked and denies them the potential of shared and mutual learning. Where teachers and curricula are unable to build on the diversity, they leave minority, second language and culturally different children adrift, neither understanding nor understood. Though from a different cause, many schools in post-colonial countries leave children similarly excluded from their learning environment. As "islands of foreignness", such schools exclude when they present -- and represent -- urban, western or elite values, behaviours and expectations, those with which indigenous, migrant or nomadic children have little in common and from which they have little to gain beyond a sense of failure and confusion.
 
Schools exclude when they do not reach out proactively to the families of children who are most vulnerable. These are the children whose culture or social background, language, customs or sense of self-identity, interfere with their ability to communicate and interact effectively in a traditional classroom. They are children living in poverty who have suffered a history of poor nutrition, limited psycho-social stimulation or emotional and physical trauma. They are children with physical or learning disabilities for whom there has been no support, or children affected by HIV/AIDS. Broadly, these are children whose circumstances have either impeded their ability to learn, or limited the range of positive experiences they have had in engaging with the learning process. They are children who are, therefore, less likely to be resilient and able to adapt successfully to the particular culture (expectations, roles, norms, approved behaviours etc) of the school. They are children most likely to give up or drop out.
 
Beyond what happens in the classroom itself, schools exclude these children by not taking their families into account; by not creating programmes expressly to link families into the educational processes their children are experiencing. Schools foster exclusion, for example, by not instituting PTA or other home-community programmes where parents can openly discuss, in a language they understand, the strengths and weaknesses of their children's learning and behaviour. They exclude by not facilitating, alone or with other agencies, ECCD and parenting programmes, or day care services to take pressure off working parents who might otherwise need their school-age daughters at home. They fail by not developing cross-cultural learning programmes for children and their families; and by not forming literacy, second language or vocational training classes for parents who are themselves excluded or vulnerable.
 
Schools exclude when they fail to concern themselves with those children who do not turn up. Schools are often isolated from, and sometimes actively in opposition to, the families and communities whose children they are supposed to be serving. They fail children by not looking for those who are missing, and by not working with other agencies which might know who and where they are (churches, health centres, drop-in youth clubs). "Heads of schools and teachers focus their attention on those who are enrolled and seldom work directly with families whose children are out of school .... local administrators, community leaders ... even assistant township education officers do not promote and facilitate participation..." (Bentzen:2).
 
Schools contribute to exclusion by not putting systems in place for formally noticing and tracking the non-attender or truant: the child who has not yet officially dropped-out, but who is regularly "just not there". In some cases, these are children who are not unduly missed because they are seen as poor or disruptive learners. In many cases, it is more simply a problem of no one feeling, or being held, accountable for them. In their broader circle of responsibility, schools exclude when they do not take account of children during their out-of-class hours. Poorly-managed shift systems in some African schools, for example, "leave children idle for much of the day" and open to involvement in street gangs and other forms of violence (The African Contexts of Children's Rights: Sect 3.2.4).
 
In all of these cases, exclusion happens to both individuals alone and to individuals as members of groups or categories of children. A single child may be regularly missing who has to care for HIV-affected parents, has to work, is being bullied at school or is suffering from mental or physical illness. But also a particular type of child may be regularly missing -- children characterised by their race, gender, place of residence (in an urban slum) or provenance (hilltribe community). The first is a problem of uncaring and unprofessional schools; the second a reflection of this same problem exacerbated by systemic discrimination. In either case, "absence from school is a symptom and not a causal factor" (Disaffected Children:5). To the extent schools do not monitor absenteeism, do not look for and assess patterns and do not work with families and community leaders in understanding the reasons for it, they are helping to create exclusion.
 
Schools exclude by costing too much, directly and by implication. UPE notwithstanding, schools are rarely free, or even financially reasonable, for families living at the margin. Costs of schooling can be many and subtle. Over the past decade in rural China, fees have multiplied significantly with the decline in central government subsidies to primary education. In Lijiagou, for example, with f/m enrolment rates of 20% and 40% respectively, school costs over $7/five-month semester -"a huge sum in a region where per capita income is $50 a year and the payback for literacy seems faraway" (Rosenthal/Nov99). Despite the official elimination of tuition, the same is true in Uganda, where the burden is falling especially hard on families affected by HIV/AIDS. Similarly in India," the cash costs of education play a major role in discouraging poor families from sending children to school", costing a labourer in Bihar, for example, 40 days/year of labour to send three children to the "free" primary school (PROBE:16). Timing of expenditures can also be a problem. Parents on subsistence incomes cannot always produce the immediate lump sum payment their child's school calls for.
 
There are also the hidden or imputed costs. In Indian communities where higher dowries are charged for educated girls, there is "a clear disincentive to parents" to pay the costs for daughters to go to school (PROBE:31). In very poor rural families, any child at all going to school requires "an exacting struggle". Even where the miscellaneous charges are objectively small, "... cruel choices may have to be made between schooling and other opportunities. Sending a child to school may mean less money to buy seeds or medicine, more back-breaking work for her mother at home or fewer resources for another child's education". In situations of high infant mortality, a mother who has to ask if she should "worry about the survival of my children, or their schooling", makes it clear that education may not always be the expenditure of choice for parents. (PROBE:35, 33)
 
Families are forced to assess their situation, balance priorities and manage shifts of income and expenditure with very little room to manoeuvre. Even where they are prepared to make the effort to pay, they are less likely to come down on the side of education when the school experience is negative, learning is minimal and future benefits uncertain or unlikely. Reflecting the cycle of exclusion, the difficulties families face in financing their children's school attendance is leading to a situation of "stuttering education" (Rosenthal/Nov99). This is a problem for the child who makes little progress over an extended period, and for the school which finds itself dealing with classrooms full of children of many ages who come and go as finances at home permit.
 
Schools, and their teachers, exclude by not being sufficiently accountable to their students and parents. PROBE's analysis of four poverty-burdened states in India found that" the deterioration of (their) teaching standards has gone much too far to be explained by the disempowerment (of teachers) factor alone" (63). Though the specifics may not be generalizable to all situations of exclusion, the generic issues are most likely not far off. "Plain negligence", for example, must explain teachers keeping a school locked for months, their drunkenness, asking children to do their domestic chores, or their seeking work elsewhere. All of these, however, may be "less devastating than the quiet inertia of the majority of teachers .... (which) has become a way of life in the profession". These are situations where teachers simply do nothing, leaving children to play or go home. Without accountability mechanisms, managed by school leaders and teacher groups in collaboration with the community, there is little "to protect the work culture of the teaching profession" and little to mobilize and guide teachers to help them do better (PROBE:64).
 
1b) Exclusion at the Meso Level: The Education Bureaucracy
 
The education bureaucracy excludes by failing to recognize the diversity of learners within its purview. It excludes when, in consequence, it fails to provide the education programmes and schools under its responsibility the human and financial resources and discretionary authority they, in turn, need to support, build on and strengthen that diversity. As primary interpreter and implementer of national education policy, and venue of a country's core educational expertise and power, it is largely at this meso level where systems-based factors excluding children are officially created and operationally sustained.
 
The bureaucracy excludes by producing incapable teachers and irrelevant curriculum. It excludes by ignoring or dismissing alternative education delivery channels and methods, especially nonformal education, as legitimate and necessary modalities for reaching hard-to-reach children. It excludes by allowing and not actively combating the kind of "educational triage" which supports high quality learning opportunities for the few, mediocre programmes for the general society, and poor or no facilities for the rest (Leiberman&Miller:8). It excludes by not creating and enforcing policies of transparency, accountability and "no tolerance" for any kind of corruption, at any level.
 
The education bureaucracy excludes children when it fails to provide their teachers with the learning and professional status they need to be effectively competent, responsible and motivated. In Lao PDR, 35% of teachers are considered under-qualified, with an even higher figure in the poorer provinces (UNESCO/b/:12). Teacher education in Pakistan has remained apparently unchanged since a 1988 review found that such "a variety of authorities control different aspects of the system" that, in effect, "no agency in particular is in charge .... no single body or institution is accountable for progress in teacher education .... (or) for quality control and development" (Putting the Child First:13). Research on classrooms in Namibia paints a sobering picture of poorly-trained teachers. Hardly dramatic, but nonetheless clear, there is very little reason for children to go to school or engage in learning when the little that their teachers are doing is nevertheless "the best they can do". When "choral repetition is the primary method of teaching in the languages, and even in maths in some cases .... (and), in the majority of the cases, it was clear that the learners were not reading, but were just looking at the teacher and repeating", children are being excluded. (Fair:42)
 
Education systems exclude when they fail to provide teachers with regular in-service professional training and moral support, through learning-oriented supervisors. Failure to support teachers inside the classroom, especially those in marginal, poor or isolated schools, excludes students by giving them teachers with typically no or little pre-service training, often coming into the system as teacher aids -- little more than child-minders to flounder and fail. Even where they are trained, the unsupervised teacher excludes when confronted with a significant culture-gap between what was expected and what those children from ethnically or resource-poor communities are able to do. In any event, no pre-service training can prepare teachers for all they will find in the classroom, especially where the school environment has few materials and children come to school malnourished, abused, having experienced little intellectual stimulation, or reflecting a different language or culture base.
 
Also, teachers burn out. Especially in circumstances where they are under-prepared, where students are reluctant learners, and where families can focus simply on the day's next meal, teachers can and do fall into patterns of inaction or absenteeism. Working in a "demotivating environment which saps their morale day after day" and where "there is a deep lack of accountability in the schooling system" (PROBE:55), education systems most seriously exclude by diminishing the value of teaching and of its teachers. Their message says, in effect, "conscientious teaching is the least prominent and most thankless of the activities" they can be expected to perform" (Ibid:58/62).
 
Without a regular connection to new ideas and knowledge, and the chance to regenerate their sense of curiosity about teaching and learning, teachers are less likely to be creative in their interaction with children. There will be less to motivate them to consider individual learner capacities, to attend to their varying needs for protection or to the development of the whole child. They are less likely to take the risk or make the effort of moving beyond transferring knowledge, to teach in ways which engage learners, guide the development of critical thinking or promote problem-solving. They are less likely to have the professional confidence or ability to reach out to parents concerning their children's strengths and problems as learners. All of this makes it especially difficult for teachers to interact effectively with children who are emotionally or physically vulnerable or culturally and linguistically different
 
Education bureaucracies exclude by being "predicated on the achievement of the 'successful', rather than on an inclusive education which aims to improve the problem-solving and critical learning skills of all pupils and not just a select few" (Vargas-Baron/Hartwell in IWGE:51). A narrowly focused achievement-oriented paradigm defines some children out, and defines them out with greater regularity when they are poor, marginal or in some way out of the norm. Testing procedures exclude when they act solely on a summative basis to screen out, or keep back, children who fail to meet certain criteria, rather than formatively to "support their continuous progress" (Wasted Opportunities:16). When education systems manage by the bell curve, assume that certain children cannot learn, or maintain classrooms which do not integrate the child who is linguistically different, they not only put the validity of their assessments at risk. They also act directly to exclude those children whose learning capacities and needs the tests fail to recognize or to "count".
 
Children already at risk are made more vulnerable to exclusion when the system's assessment procedures fail to reflect the individual learning characteristics, gender or home background of each child and to accommodate itself to them. Assessment excludes when it forces adaptations by the child rather than by the system, especially when that child does not automatically or easily "fit in". There is little evidence to show that children who repeat learn any more or any better through re-exposure to the same content and teaching methods, especially when there is no remedial support for filling in learning gaps. On the contrary, the family, health, psycho-social and development factors which negatively affected the ability to succeed in the first place are likely to be exacerbated for a child who may be punished by parents for failing, or punished by the fact of now being older than classmates, probably bored and labelled with the stigma of failure. Ironically, the continued presence of such a child in the same limited class space may widen the circle of exclusion further by keeping a younger one from moving up.
 
The education bureaucracy excludes children when it persists in creating inappropriate and irrelevant curriculum and materials of poor pedagogical quality. Curricula which are gender biased and degrading, which are incomprehensible to specific groups of children, or which do not allow any local adaptation force children away. An education system which causes "alienation of the individual from the culture and community of origin", drawing children away from traditional forms, contents and philosophies of learning, excludes (Serpell,1996). African educators talk of their as-yet not decolonized systems "divorcing children from their roots". But the problem is not just in the South. In one region of the US northwest, for example, although the majority of students were from Hispanic, Indian and other cultures, the schools continued to present "a culture based on the white, Anglo-Saxon culture. Although students seemed gifted in their drawing abilities, the entry tests were based solely on understanding print-based concepts" with which they had more limited experience (Cooney/95 in CPA "School Readiness").
 
Education systems and their curricula and methods exclude when, in their wake, schools produce national assessment results which essentially relegate whole segments of children to the status of failures. They exclude by forcing a conclusion that "very few children (in a given population) attained mastery in any subject .... (That while) they did better on subjects requiring rote memory, (they did) poorly on basic literacy skills such as reading with comprehension and writing a letter and lacked knowledge of health and hygiene principles and general knowledge" (Putting the Child First:10). These children are excluded by a system which not only does not let them learn, but then forces on them the lasting stereotype and implications of being "failures".
 
1c) Exclusion at the Macro Level: National Education Policy
 
Government and education policies exclude in two broad ways. By commission, they actively deny children's right to education through the regulations they apply -- restrictive enrolment criteria, segregating children with disabilities, denying NFE an effective co-ordination with the formal system. They also exclude by omission -- failing to make "education for all" a broad societal philosophy and articulated priority or to implement any pro-child policies which do exist in serious, systematic ways.
 
 
Numbers count. Policies at the macro level can cause exclusion so extensive as to be considered a national phenomenon. Burma, with an estimated nearly 25% of its children never enrolling in school, and of those who do only about 34% completing the first cycle (Bentzen:1), Pakistan, with an estimated 44% of children in primary school (Putting the Child First:5), and Lao PDR, with a drop-out rate of 60% and an average attendance of about 3 years (UNESCO/b/:11) must be seen as countries of exclusion.
 
Policies are also selective in impact, affecting specifically marginalized communities in large or smaller pockets of exclusion. Rajasthan, for example, a state with a large nomadic, scheduled caste and tribal population, is one among ten states of India with literacy rates well below the 52% national level and primary school completion rates even lower (Govinda:1). Exclusionary policies, or policy inaction, also affect generalized and scattered classes of children e.g. the "urban poor". In East St Louis Illinois, for example, "... some 70% of the students fail to meet state standards; 52% drop out of high school. 6th graders have been known to teach classes due to teacher absenteeism" (Cohen:C-1)
 
National government and education policy-making bodies exclude by not seriously or comprehensively identifying barriers to education for families and children at risk; by not creating opportunities to enable their participation. Ethnic minorities, forced migrants and refugees, nomadic children, girls as a class in many cultures -- these are all communities where children vulnerable to exclusion are found, and for whom the failure of macro policy to be proactive in support of their education is exclusionary. National education bodies exclude when they locate schools far from ethnic or poor communities, for example. They exclude when they fail to urge colleagues in ministries of transport, industry or rural development to consider isolated, impoverished communities and education access and quality in making their decisions on road, rail or communication networks, on industrial expansion or SME support. They exclude by not calling health and social development ministries to account for families with inadequate nutrition, disease prevention interventions or HIV/AIDS counselling services. Education ministers exclude by failing to keep clear on the policy agenda that all sectors are obligated under the CRC to ensure education for all children, and therefore that considerable of all their resources needs to be equitably and efficiently allocated to that end.
 
National systems exclude when they purposively segregate children with special learning needs. They exclude when they determine that a child's persistent failures or problems in school are due, not to the nature of the teaching or the environment of the school, but to deficiencies in the child. They exclude when they "deflect attention from the more general changes in curricula and teaching methods that might minimise the creation of difficulties for learners" (UNESCO/e/:3) and put the onus instead on the child and family to act -- often by withdrawing the child from the system. Children are further excluded when the system does not provide them schools and teachers with the knowledge, skills and resources to diagnose and "scaffold" them i.e. to give them the level and kind of support which will facilitate their learning.
 
These children are excluded when they are ignored in the classroom, left to try to survive on their own. They have often little option but to drop-out. They are excluded when their ability to explore, test and adapt is removed by placements in restrictive remedial classes. They are excluded by being removed to institutions without professional competence. Systems exclude when they discriminate "behind an apparently benign" labelling of children as different and effectively unteachable. Macro policies exclude when "learners are expected to aspire to a single standard of culture or educational fitness and those who cannot shed their difference are seen as having an enhanced distinctiveness and may be subject to increasing rejection" (UNESCO/e/:3)
 
Macro levels exclude by failing systematically to assess variation in learning achievement across the country, or to seek patterns of factors causing them. As noted earlier, student assessments can exclude. National level policy excludes by not knowing precisely what is being assessed and the quality of the results; not knowing the validity and reliability of the instruments or how they are administered.
 
Children can be unfairly put out of a programme or denied progress to a next level by standardized tests which do not account for differences in linguistic or cultural background, or in school quality. Systemic exclusion is missed when certain groups of students are not regularly enough at school to take a test or pass it. Improvements in classroom-level test scores at higher grades may mean better quality teaching and curriculum. They may also mean that weaker, culturally less well-integrated students, have dropped out. Exclusion is created at the macro level when policy-makers and evaluators are unclear, inconsistent and ineffective in ensuring accurate and well-implemented assessments; and when they fail to interpret results in ways which reveal where children with persistently low achievement and non-participation are (i.e. those for whom education is not proving effective) and the contextual and school factors associated with that exclusion.
 
Education policies exclude when they segregate the formal "legitimate" school system from the less-worthy "rest". Education policies which accredit for academic advancement and social recognition only one learning channel and which designate nonformal alternatives as second-class and merely for subsistence exclude almost all children living at the social and economic margins. They create chronic exclusion when they fail to enable and recognize the creation of an integrated learning system, one in which a wide range of education modalities is given status, and the resources which go with that.
 
Policies foster exclusion by not working in collaboration with the NGOs, community-based organizations and indigenous institutions which are well-placed to deliver these other modalities, promoting instead dysfunctional competition for funds, duplication of services, inequities in educational quality and irregularity of access. Through programmes they support themselves, and those they fund others to deliver, education systems exclude when they act on the assumption that second-class is good enough; that the education deficit faced by children who are working, marginalized and living in poverty can be made up by programmes which are under-resourced, inadequately staffed, often non-functional and, in all of this, equally marginal.
 
Macro policies exclude by insisting on centralized and inflexible control over standards, approaches and methods which are not relevant to vulnerable communities. The brief excerpt below of the situation of Tanzanian children and their absence from school illustrates well the idea that EFA goals perhaps fail less often in the dramatic than in the mundane. Exclusion is essentially a matter of education systems focusing on their own priorities rather than accommodating and adapting to the real lives of children:
 

... children stated they could not come to school because of work at home, some of which, for both boys and girls, was caring for younger siblings, but most of which (70% for boys and 65% for girls) was to 'guard the farm' .... (In) savannah cultivation the crops are under constant threat. At seed time, birds and monkeys eat the seeds; during the period when the crops are growing, monkeys, baboons and pigs may raid the crops and an entire year's harvest can be lost in a single night. Thus all family members are needed to protect the crop, and children are kept away from school particularly at those periods when crops are at greatest risk ... (In) a second area ...subject to flooding, (the) government solution had been to move people to the higher ground and create villages where none had been before, including schools and dispensaries. Yet, after the end of the Nyerere period of government, villagers moved back to lowland areas and became transhumant in order to cope with the seasonal periods of flooding. As schools were only available in the new villages on higher ground, children were absent from school on a seasonal basis, with attendance varying between 40% and 85% (The African Contexts of Children's Rights: Sect 3.2.1)

 
Undifferentiated, nationally-set education policies exclude when they act independently of communities to enforce a national (often international) language of instruction. In many countries, this produces a "schooling that cuts the young child off from the home language (and)is a major cause of drop-out and repetition" (EFA Status and Trends, 1998:27). An estimated 90% of people living in Sub-Saharan Africa, for example, do not understand the colonial language used as the medium of formal school learning (Kuper in IWGE:73). Macro-policy, supported by some donors, which insists on the use of such language excludes significant numbers of children both from effective learning and success on nationally-set primary leaving exams. The issue is not straightforward, of course. Policies also risk excluding children by limiting them to local languages which are given no status or credit beyond the community limit their engaging with, and moving into, the wider world. "It is not in the best interests of the child to grow up in isolation from the language, culture and society of the majority population of the country" (MONEE:55).
 
National systems fail on both counts where they make the decisions from the centre; when they do not collaborate with families to negotiate approaches based on local priorities, sound pedagogical experience and a range of options. Current wisdom suggests use of the mother-tongue in early years, adding others later. An equally-well articulated position suggests that national governments in regions such as Africa need, together, to rethink their language policies and to co-operate in support of local languages whose populations cut across their national boundaries. Both positions have a logic. Both require solid research and evaluation, well-prepared teachers and materials, and mobilized national support for whichever strategy is adopted. National systems exclude in rarely making the effort on behalf of, or providing such resources to, the hard-to-reach.
 
2. Socio-Economic and Political Conditions Create Excluded Children
 
The major danger is that of a gulf opening up between a minority of people who are capable of finding their way successfully about this new world that is coming into being and the majority who feel that they are at the mercy of events and have no say in the future of society .... Education, by providing access to knowledge for all, has precisely this universal task of helping people to understand the world and to understand others (Learning - The Treasure Within: 34)
 
Exclusion is about the "majority who have no say", and about the failure of societies to provide the education which gives them the opportunity to change that situation. It is created by social, economic and political environments which diminish and destroy the power of families to act on behalf of their children's education, or of children and young people to act for themselves. Globally and nationally, societies are creating excluded children by allowing the emergence of a "two-tier global order ... characterized by growing economic polarization and social exclusion" (UNICEF/e/:para19).
 
The preceding discussion of how education systems exclude children potentially concerns all children, to some degree. The concern of this paper, and critical for the focus of global action in support of education during the next 15 years, however, are those children who are affected in a major way by exclusionary forces. They are children, chiefly (though not solely) in developing countries, living in conditions of extreme poverty and social marginalization. They are children who, whether on their own or through their families, are unlikely to break the exclusionary downward cycle. They are, therefore, the children for whom national systems and the international community must take significant affirmative and persistent action both to change the basic conditions of poverty and exclusion in their lives overall, and to design and implement inclusive, effective education. More specifically, excluded children are those who
 

* are not considered to "fit" into majority-based classrooms: ethnic minority and scheduled caste children; children of different cultures, speaking other than a national language; or whose dysfunctional or broken family or life on the street lead them to be stereotyped as children incapable or unworthy of learning and appropriately kept out of school.

* contradict accepted norms of who can or should learn: girls in general and pregnant girls in particular; children with disabilities or affected by HIV/AIDS.

* cannot afford the cost or the time of schooling: children from chronically poor urban and rural families or for whom economic crises have created newly-jobless families; working and street children; children who are the fall-out of SAPs.

* are not free or available to participate: geographically isolated children in coastal fishing communities or remote mountain areas; child soldiers; unregistered migrants; children of transients, seasonal workers and nomadic communities.

* are living in the context of disaster: children in war, refugee children and children displaced by destruction of their physical environment.

 
The following discussion elaborates some of these circumstances, toward creating a more operational picture of what exclusion looks like. Somewhat arbitrarily, these have been grouped according to who the children are, where they are (i.e. the circumstances in which they find themselves), and what they are doing. These categories are not mutually exclusive. The excluded child is, for example, a girl who is working as a flower seller on the street of an impoverished Brazilian slum; he is an adolescent boy from a hilltribe community forced to serve in one of the drug militias of the Golden Triangle.
 
The differentiation into the who, where and what of exclusion is intended to provide perspective; to make the concept more accessible and actionable in terms of determining specific focus, constraints and entry points for intervention. In other words, if the conditions of exclusion exist, the existence of excluded children must be assumed.
 
Who these children are concerns those characteristics which are effectively "given", the essence of the child: gender, ethnicity and race; age (for that period); basic intellectual and physical capacities; background experience and personal history. These are the bases which cannot be changed and on which the child must be accepted as a learner. They are the bases around which the society, education system and school must organize to ensure a relevant and effective learning experience. They are characteristics which cannot be used as justification for exclusion.
 
Where concerns the context in which the child lives, or has been placed. It concerns the surrounding conditions which exclude children by failing to allow for their (and their families') basic rights and needs, including access to good education. The "where" shifts the focus from the child who is struggling to those responsible for ensuring the protection and development of this and all children, pursuant to the commitments of the CRC -- no matter where he or she is. The right of a child living in the street to a good education is no less than that of a child living in luxury; the obligation of a society to ensure such a child gets that education is as firm. The "where" forces consideration not of how the child must change to fit into school, but of how the barriers presented by the school and the wider socio-economic, cultural and political environment can be removed, or their negative impacts mitigated, so as to ensure that the child does indeed "fit".
 
What concerns both the who and where of exclusion. It concerns how the child, based on his or her individual and social resources and personal interests, is managing or coping with the conditions of life. It includes consideration of how ready the child is to engage in learning and/or to participate in education, given the other activities and concerns he or she faces. The focus here is on collaboration with the child concerned. It involves those responsible for the child's well-being, and how they can most effectively know, and co-operate with, that child to design and implement action appropriate to ensuring effective and relevant education (as well as health care, social services, justice etc). A perspective on what the excluded child is doing forces situation analyses and interventions to be more refined and tailored; to consider, for example, what the working child is working at and where, with what risk and how much "space" he or she has for learning. It forces interventions to consider specifically what a child is doing on the street, in a conflict zone or in an isolated rural school. It forces consideration of how education can be made to suit each child as they are now, and to help them move forward.
 
2a) Who the Excluded Children Are
 
They are Girls: Globally, under all categories, the most frequently excluded children are girls. Gender continues to be the major causal factor in children being left out, and pushed out, of school. The denial of a girl's right to education remains a pernicious and persistent characteristic of many societies on a purposive basis, by reason of culture and family choice-making. Beliefs that the formal education of girls is inappropriate or unnecessary, and failures to make schools safe, secure and empowering places for girls, continue to create systemic gender bias in who goes to school and successfully completes a basic education. Girls are excluded by cultures insisting on early marriage and preparing for that role by young years focused on domestic chores, caring for siblings and protecting virtue. They are excluded when, due to pregnancy, they are forced to drop out of school and rarely given support by either home or school to return.
 
The figures are well known but none-the-less dramatic: approximately 2/3 of the 130 million primary school-age children not in school are girls. In Africa, almost 26 million girls are out of school. In Afghanistan, under the Taliban, net primary attendance is only 36% for boys, but a tragic 11% for girls; while 47% men are literate, only 15% of women are. In Lao PDR, of the 64% of adults who are literate, only 35% are girls/women. In Yemen, girls' participation is only about 31%, some 42 points behind that of boys.
 
They are the Especially Vulnerable: Children limited in realizing their full potential for learning by being denied access to a good quality of education are also children who are physically, intellectually or emotionally vulnerable. This includes children who have been put at risk by the inadequate pre- and post-natal care available to their mothers, by their own nutritional deficit or by an early home environment which failed to nurture or stimulate them. The 120,000 children who survived IDD in 1990 and are now afflicted with cretinism; the 250,000 who survived vitamin A deficiency and are now blind; and the thousands who are maimed annually by landmines are all children whose right to learn and be educated to their full potential has been put at risk (WHO/b/:1).
 
Children are also systematically excluded in many cases on the basis what the society and school define as disability. Like much else about exclusion, beliefs and actions around disability cause a great deal of suffering, but few clear answers. Of an assumed 10% of children in a population with some form of disability, it is estimated that as few as 3% of those in developing countries have access to rehabilitation services (Farzanegan:14). Globally, it is the tragedy of these children that along with the special efforts they themselves have to make in order to participate, they have to deal with education systems which define them out by failing to apply a framework which creates environments better suited to all learners (UNESCO/ICF-EFA/d/:4).
 
Children are excluded where no provision is made to support them when physical, emotional or intellectual difficulties interfere with their learning. It is estimated that only 1% of such children are in school (UNICEF/a/:32). In more industrialized countries where they do often have access to school, the participation of these children may still be marginal. The poor pedagogical training of teachers can limit both the effective management of their particular learning needs and their integration into the social relationships of the class. Elsewhere, these problems are exacerbated by an overall lack of resources, child-accessible facilities and expertise. Most insidiously, perhaps, these children are excluded by being rendered statistically invisible: not included among the potential total school-going population and, therefore, not missed when they do not turn up (UNESCO/Special Needs Section).
 
In near-crisis proportions for some countries and new since Jomtien, the answer to who is being excluded is children affected by HIV/AIDS. Clearly traumatic for children in terms of their health, HIV/AIDS is also having tragic impacts on their right to be protected by and participate in their society, and on their ability to protect and manage themselves. One of the enduring traumas for affected children is that the discrimination associated with HIV/AIDS can put certain of their rights (of access to care and learning) at jeopardy of others (their right to confidentiality).
 
Children are also being negatively affected when their parents and other family members are infected and die. AIDS has created over 8.2 million orphans between the critical school ages of 6 and 12 (UNICEF: Teachers Talking and Learning Together) and is expected to reach 40 million by 2010 (UNFPA:18). HIV/AIDS is thus creating children who are suddenly responsible not only for their own protection and care, but also that of younger siblings and other infected relatives, and with few human or financial resources to bring to bear in doing so. With an HIV/AIDS affected family typically comes a downward spiral of exclusions: economic problems, leading to inability to pay school fees and dropping out, food insecurity and difficulties with other basic needs, sometimes loss of land and possessions to relatives, and a move into the street where vulnerabilities increase exponentially (Farzanegan:13)
 
It is most certainly affecting children's ability to access services, and the quality of those services. This includes limiting their ability to go to, and stay in, school and the ability of schools to ensure the teachers will be there when they do come. In Zambia, 680 teachers were reported to have died of AIDS-related illnesses in 1996, 624 the next year and 200 in the first few months of 1998, "figures (which) translate into more than 2.1% of trained teachers or almost two per day" (Kelly/OXFAM quoted in DFID:27). Monitoring the progress and impact of the epidemic on different groups of at-risk children and on their learning is fundamental to ensuring appropriate action on their behalf. As education systems fail, however, any mitigating influences for children in terms of the nurturing, knowledge, skills and protection which might come from education are being even further reduced.
 
They are Minorities & Indigenous: Children excluded from education are frequently the children of ethnic minorities and indigenous groups. These two types of communities are distinguished often in terms of the intensity, persistence and scope of their exclusion from mainstream societies. Common between them in terms of their children's education, however, is the serious risk many are facing from schools which fail both to treat children equitably as learners and to respect their cultures as valid systems of knowledge and values. For both indigenous communities and long-standing ethnic minorities, the fact of exclusion is real, and it is serious. In 1994, 70% of Peru's Quechua-speaking people over 5 had not been to school; in Guatemala, 80% of the rural indigenous population was illiterate (World Bank:45). In China's Qinghai Province, an area of nomadic herders, attendance at the secondary level has dropped more than 66% over the decade, largely a result of rising school costs and fewer jobs, making these costs less tenable (Rosenthal/Nov99). These are not rare instances.
 
The questions for education concern the nature and impact of this isolation on their quality of life, and how the situation should be addressed to ensure effective learning and equity. The questions go beyond issues of poverty and marginalization. They include how the rights of these children and communities will be preserved, and their best interests ensured, when their very history, culture and language serve both to exclude them and to put them at risk of never being able to achieve "inclusion". Most often, there is no reasonable possibility of these communities remaining outside the mainstream. Without the dignity of any choice, however, education systems are excluding these families and their children by leaving them to handle the balancing of socio-cultural integration, assimilation and disintegration as best they can.
 
Many of their children will not go to school; most who do go, will not stay. The Karimojong of Uganda provide a cogent example. A semi-nomadic people in a "highly fragile and precarious ecological environment", the formal primary school
 

"has failed to provide ... children with the necessary knowledge, attitudes and skills relevant to their roles and livelihood .... which neither equips them to become productive members of their society nor prepares them to take up meaningful life outside .... (it) undermines their values, traditional knowledge and skills, cultural traits and form of education which are crucial to survival. The curriculum is generally irrelevant .... (does) not stress preparation for self reliance, positive image of pastoralism (or the) emergence of traditional and modern pastoral cultures which would enhance the economic contribution of pastoralism to the national economy .... The formal primary school education continues to threaten social ethics... and has rigid instructional methodology". On top of all of this, it is also expensive and requires full time attendance unsuited to a nomadic culture. (Basic Education Programme for Karimojong Children: section 2.3)

 
Indigenous and ethnic minority children are continuing to be excluded because partnerships and negotiations between the community and externally-oriented schools are not sufficiently effective or open. Creativity and flexibility in curriculum choices, appropriate balancing around language of instruction and use of traditional versus child-oriented teaching styles, are not common. While a community like the Karimojong is able to bring considerable strengths to any serious effort seeking its participation, it is rarely invited to do so. It is the tragedy of these communities and their children that so many interventions assume they have nothing on which to build, nothing to contribute to the analysis of the problems or to the development of alternatives. It is the tragedy of education systems in dealing with these communities that so few provide the professional competency, motivation and material resources necessary to enable such participation.
 
They are Adolescents Cutting across all categories of excluded children, is the situation of those who are, in fact, no longer really children. Except for those who get into trouble of some kind, capacity, knowledge and life-style issues of concern to young people in that period of transition called adolescence (usually between 11-18) have not tended to be specifically addressed in much of the EFA discussion. The situation is changing as young people of this age are increasingly recognized as being particularly vulnerability and at risk. Maternal mortality and morbidity are higher for girls under 20; violence, delinquency and substance abuse are on the rise in this age group; 65% of the reported cases of HIV/AIDS in Thailand are here. Most child-soldiers, labouring children and those who are sexually exploited are here (UNICEF/i/:15,37,16). In many African countries, over 50% of the population is under the age of 18, but youth is "an excluded category in terms of policies, services and participation." (African Contexts..:Sect2). Adolescents are becoming a larger proportion of prison and detention centres populations, and are often those same ones who have not completed school and, while inside, remain without access to regular or good quality education programmes (UNICEF/Brazil; Tressou 1997).
 
It is a period of life with special need for "supportive caring relationships, ... to feel respected and appreciated, to have a sense of belonging and membership..." in families and communities which can help them develop the "inner strengths" and resilience for effectively managing themselves and acting on their environments (UNICEF/i/:9). Unfortunately, although these are still children for whose learning families, schools and the wider community are responsible, they are the ones very often denied support. Teachers and parents frequently do not recognize the nature of the changes they are going through, treating their confusion and testing behaviours as undisciplined, aberrant and hostile. Schools which supply little beyond custodial management and rote teaching methods are ill-prepared to provide supportive, flexible learning environments for youth struggling with the demands of an adult world. They are excluding and opening these children to risk by failing to provide them protection from, and opportunities to acquire skills and knowledge about, the dilemmas and threats of HIV/AIDS, drug use, early pregnancies, exploitative relationships; or how to meet challenges of an unknown future.
 
As a result, these are young people becoming increasingly disaffected and discouraged, angry and sometimes hopeless. In all societies, more are coming to see themselves as not only without a sense of security and personal worth now, but as potentially without a better future. In western countries, violence in schools and among street gangs is growing along with dropping out of school, home and community. Homelessness is becoming a permanent condition of their lives rather than a passing teenage phase. In developing countries, whole communities of youth are living in and with marginality as their life condition. Some of UNESCO's efforts to give these people a voice are producing not only a platform for them, but a window for the adult world on how serious the situation is becoming. "But really young guy, you won't go to school. Of course not, you're too poor! Your father and your mother, they have no time; they're too busy surving (sic) for more. Days come and go until sudden death. Your life is as hard as stone, don't forget you're raw to the bone." (Rabba Boyz, Malian rap musicians, Basic Education Workshop/UNESCO-Aide et Action. Dec97)
 
2b) Where Excluded Children Are Found
 
In Situations of Poverty: The vast majority of children excluded from their right to education are those living in conditions of absolute poverty. Poverty is the most persistent and inexorable of all exclusionary factors. Because of this, it is also the least dramatic and the least likely to mobilize action. The fact that whole communities of children and parents are not participating in education is a reality often unseen except in annexes of international reports. Exclusion by neglect becomes an inter-generational, effectively natural, condition for families who come to assume irregular, inadequate and dysfunctional schooling and for societies which ignore them.
 
Absolute poverty is also universal. In both developed and developing countries, in both rural and urban areas, it exists. On a national level, it is reflected in governments not having the resources or the willingness to meet their social development obligations, including provision of functional education systems with competent teachers and enough schools. On a more human level, it is an all-inclusive condition of families not being able to meet their basic needs of survival, health and development. Poverty affects every dimension of a family's life and the lives of its children. In particular, it diminishes their individual and collective sense of control over immediate and long-term options, making education a less compelling value. Poverty at this level is about having few real choices and limited flexibility. From a national socio-political perspective, absolute poverty among the population is sometimes a happenstance. More typically, it is a matter of persistently failed public policy, corruption and civil or environmental trauma.
 
Excluded children are in countries where policies of national and local governments create and exacerbate the poverty by cutting social expenditures in response to SAPs, subsidizing an urban middle class, building militaries or large-scale infrastructure or sustaining corruption. All of these deny large numbers of children adequate schools, trained teachers and good curriculum. They are in countries or provinces where policies, by action or default, distribute resources, power and access to information inequitably and sometimes not at all. They are in families and communities which are without the quality of health, income security or sense of a "future benefit" which might incline them to send their children to school -- even to pay the fees, were good schools available.
 
Absolute poverty exists in countries which should not have it. A growing body of US-based research on children having problems in school or dropping out points to chronic poverty, confounded often by race, as the common factor. Families in both rural and urban poverty tend to have more children with special needs; they certainly have fewer resources to address those needs, or the psychological margin, social support and self-confidence to collaborate in affirmative action with schools. Research on the state of urban education in developed countries indicates that poverty significantly reduces the likelihood of communities "bucking" the trends of low attendance and achievement, patchy standards and drop-outs. In Canada, with 20-25% of children considered to be living in poverty, the effects on their education are clear: poor performance, chronic stress and adjustment problems, conflicts at home and school, feelings of rage and despair and, especially among Native communities, teenage suicide.
 
In Situations of Traumatic Change: Children already made vulnerable to exclusion by living in poverty, are pushed even further into crisis by being in situations of severe economic decline and traumatic changes in socio-economic governance systems. In times of such stress, already-fragile education systems push marginal children out with special harshness, usually without clear or committed strategies for protecting the gains they have made or for bringing them back. Some of the countries in Southeast Asia have served as an important object lesson over the past couple of years in how quickly this can happen. In Indonesia, entire cohorts risk being lost as children are forced to drop out of the system and do not come back. Even where some are financially able to return, and want to, schools are likely to have trouble accommodating them where classes will be full and many children over-age for their level. It is a condition becoming critically worse as the social dislocations of ethnic conflict begin to take hold.
 
The CIS countries present another version of a near-systemic exclusion of children created through abrupt economic reversal and political change. In this case, the dramatic recasting of the socio-economic paradigm of these countries has changed equally fundamentally the nature of the education system and families' relationship to it. Children are being excluded as the costs and benefits of participation lose their previous equilibrium. In a situation of "major educational meltdown", more than 32,000 Russian pre-schools have closed, contributing to a decline of close to 20% of children in kindergarten (UNICEF Information Hotline, Jan99:1). Fees for schooling have risen significantly. State-support for teachers salaries and training, for curriculum materials, for school meals and medical care, for subsidized clothing and other incentives all have dropped or been eliminated. Most at risk, of course, are the already vulnerable: children from the poorest, chiefly rural, families, ethnic minorities, children with disabilities (MONEE, 1998) A new and very large generation of excluded children and adults is being created as stratification in access is denying "equal education to the poorest and most marginalized children... " (UNICEF Ibid:2).
 
In Situations of Structural Adjustment & Debt: Excluded children are also to be found where international agencies and national governments have insisted on the strict application of structural adjustment or debt repayment regimes. They are excluded further where these interventions are applied without sufficient consideration of their implications for vulnerable groups, and are not monitored for their impact on these groups. Impacts have certainly been felt, especially in Africa. Painting a quite graphic description of broad-brush, systemic, exclusion from the perspective of Senegal, for example:
 

Many families (were) plunged into relative or absolute poverty and children of poor families paid the heaviest price:... between 2,000 and 3,000 children live in the streets. Around 100,000 children beg in the streets. Worse than that, the number of child beggars increases from year to year. In 1997 there were 6,300 children begging in the streets of Dakar, compared to 1,000 in 1991... more than 60% of these children are between 7 and 12 .... 33% suffer from malnutrition in rural areas, and 22.4% in urban areas. If these children fall sick they have no access to either curative or preventative medicine ... (Ibid: Sect3.2.1).

 
Reconfirming the "close, and incontrovertible, relationship between poverty, health and education", the crisis has had an impact on survival strategies of Senegalese families. According to a 1995 World Bank report, 70% of the income of poor families is spent on food, while only 2% is dedicated to education. The State budget for education is considered "insufficient in view of population growth and educational demand, and (even) those children who go to school find themselves in crowded classrooms in which quality teaching is impossible".
 
In the Street: Children living with poverty and other conditions putting them at risk are increasingly to be found as children on the street: as beggars, scrap pickers, traffic sellers, prostitutes, petty thieves. It is a categorization complicated by the fact that these children are not a single "type", the label based on where donors and society find them rather than who they are or what they are doing. While many do live on the street, alone and with other children, many others live at home. The street is the place where they earn income and find their social networks. Most are in some risk of servitude to adults who use them in their prostitution, drug and other criminal activities, and many find themselves involved with the law as a result of direct and indirect criminal activity. Many leave the street to go to worse situations, into indentured labour and into prisons. Few are in any kind of education programme.
 
As with working children generally, the specific conditions under which these children come to the street, and stay there, are still not well understood. Data as to numbers, causes and conditions are limited. There are assumed, however, to be over 1 million worldwide, chiefly young boys (Tay: memo/Nov99). It is clear, however, that while their conditions vary, they all include exclusion at other levels -- lack of health care, security from violence or sexual exploitation, no or sporadic access to educational opportunities. Some choose to be on the street; the majority, however, are there because they have few other choices. They are the victims of dislocation caused by conflict or economic crisis or of parental abuse and/or abandonment. They are victims of family poverty, forced out to fend for themselves or to augment the family income. Schools also contribute to sending children into the street where, instead of serving to "offset and even compensate for society's and parental failings, by providing a propitious environment for human growth .... (they) have themselves become scenes of violence."
 
In Institutions: Excluded children are also found in institutions. Placing children with disabilities, in trouble with the law, or without adequate family and community support away from society's sight happens in most countries, to varying degrees and for varying reasons. Though justified in terms of serving the child's "best interest", the underlying rationale is often one of making the management of that child, by society or the sector, easier. In not all cases, of course, do such children fall within the parameters of exclusion as used in this paper. Professionally managed, child-friendly and rights-based institutions, with strong links to the community, can provide precisely the kind of support an at-risk or abused child needs to establish a sound intellectual and psychosocial footing, from which he or she can then move forward.
 
But these conditions are not the norm. Brazil is but one example where a significant proportion of its detention centre population is children and adolescents from the streets, children with no access to resources or to school. In Eastern Europe, the practice of institutionalizing children considered to be "uneducable" persists, based either on a perception that the influences of disability cannot be mitigated, or on a disinclination to try. Institutionalization is also based on inflexibility in the face of cultural or linguistic differences, especially of groups considered to be ethnically inferior. And it is based on an unwillingness to invest limited resources in children not seen as able to "pay back" society's investment through their eventual financial independence (the case of children considered to be intellectually diminished in some way). All of these are reasons for policy and practice decisions to put them aside.
 
In countries which have come through war or economic crisis, children are in institutions as a result of a breakdown in the ability of communities and social support agencies to provide more light-handed support. In Cambodia, for example, there continue to be serious shortfalls in the human and fiscal resources of its social welfare sector which, when coupled with the still-many unstable communities, results in children continuing to be put into "orphanages". These offer little more than basic custodial care. All such children are not orphans; many are abandoned because of poverty or family breakdown; because they have disabilities of some kind; or because their parents are lost. Regardless of cause, few are adequately supported in these institutions. They are rarely helped to realize their full psycho-social or intellectual development. Only recently are efforts being made to establish facilitated linkages to the formal schools and wider community.
 
In War & Conflict: With increasingly horrific damage, excluded children are in situations of war, or the persistent communal conflicts and dislocations which are its precursors and aftermath. Over the past decade, in addition to the estimated two million children in armed conflict, several times that many have been injured and permanently disabled, exploited as soldiers, starved and exposed to extreme brutality (Machel:para2-3). Millions more have been displaced, internally and into other countries.
 
For all these children, "the entire fabric of their societies (have been) torn to pieces", homes, schools, health systems and religious institutions (Ibid:para29). And these social traumas have not tended to be short-term, one-off instances, but to "drag on for long periods with no clear beginning or end' (Ibid:para22), creating in yet another way, a cycle of serious and endemic exclusion and "endless struggles for survival". Long after fighting ends, many children continue to feel its repercussions, forced onto the street or into factories as communities, governments and even their families focus on priorities other than children and education. They are further excluded where the focus of education reconstruction is on replicating previous elitist structures, or bringing in a foreign, often donor-preferred, system without considering the implications for social dislocation.
 
The significance of this for children and adolescents can be tragic. Facing the same trauma as adults, they do so often without the capacities they need to act in their own best interest and without the support of families, communities or opportunities for learning. Children who suffer most from exploitation and abuse, as child soldiers or girls forced into prostitution, are those likely already at risk or in trouble from exclusion. Conflicts tend to grow from conditions of social disintegration, and many of these children were previously found in communities where systems failed and forced them away from support services, including school.
 
Even where schools exist, "children may not be able to enrol because they lack proper documentation, are not considered residents of the area or are unable to pay school fees. Feelings of exclusion, and the struggle for survival and protection, may lead children to join parties to the conflict or to become street children" (Ibid:para82). In the course of the 10-year Liberian civil war, the numbers of teachers is estimated to have dropped from 12,000 to 4-5,000; approximately 10-15,000 child soldiers acquired "little education and no marketable skills"; and 20-30,000 primary school age children "have not attended regularly in the last seven years" (UNICEF/Liberia:2)
 
Vulnerable and excluded children are found where their government's military and civil action against domestic minorities or other perceived threats blatantly make them the weapons, as well as the victims, of war. Burning schools, intimidating and murdering teachers and destroying books are all weapons of choice in policies to deny children both the immediate opportunity to learn and undermining any potential they might have for recapturing a life of normal development and effective participation later on. International sanctions imposed against hostile countries can also exacerbate exclusion when they are applied "too bluntly", and where they are inadequately monitored to ensure that the impact does not fall on children.
 
A most critical message of Machel for education concerns the durability and scope of conflicts, and their permanent impact the exclusion of large numbers of children. Persistent instability, unpredictability and randomness of even low-grade violence "which never begins or ends" produces a generalized vulnerability ... years of lost schooling and vocational skills will take equivalent years to replace and their absence imposes a greater vulnerability on the ability of societies to recover after war" (para 186). The interdependencies of exclusion will guarantee that this "greater vulnerability" will fall most heavily on those least able to cope, already-marginal families even more hard-pressed to find financial and psychological resources for ensuring the health and emotional well-being of children, and less likely to have a future-looking faith which might make investing in education a sensible use of resources. Systems have fewer opportunities to provide them and those they have are "of lower quality". Funds are short; the supply of materials slow and erratic; fear and disruption making it difficult "to create an atmosphere conducive to learning..." (Ibid:para 188).
 
In Refugee Settlements & Displaced: Immediately consequent (and often simultaneous) to children being excluded through war, they are in the millions being excluded in refugee camps and as the internally displaced. For many such children, this nether-world is a more-or-less permanent condition. Lao and Palestinian refugees, for example, have had several generations born in camps; Afghan refugees have been in Iran for some 20 years. As with other social support structures, the education available to these children and their families is precarious. Host governments rarely allow open access to the regular school system; even when able to attend, refugee children often face exclusions of discrimination, social harassment and failed communication (cultural and/or linguistic). Motivation within refugee communities to educate their own children may be high, but their capacity to manage coherent and consistent programmes is typically not. In the Afghan case, in the "few refugee schools which are run, ... classes in all (of them) are very small, over-crowded and under-equipped". Implying on-going exclusion, they are also not formally recognized and no certification is given (UNICEF/Iran memo note).
 
2c) What Excluded Children Are Doing
 
They are Working: Among the most obvious causes and consequences of exclusion is the fact that children who are not in school are not sitting idle. They are at home, generating income or filling in for working parents; they are in the field, in factories, and on the street. Definitions of work vary by type, level of hazard or exploitation and the amount of time involved, making detailed figures on working children difficult to calculate with certainty. Broadly, the number of children in the developing countries estimated to be working, full or part-time, is 250 million.
 
Asia, reflecting conditions chiefly in South Asia, continues to have highest absolute numbers of working children. As of 1997, 120 million children between ages 5-14 "fully at work", and many more than this for whom work is a secondary activity (Invisible Children in Asia:2). In 1996 Cambodia, statistics indicated 16% working children between ages 5-17, most of these in fisheries and agriculture and the rest in domestic service, scavenging and small factories or sweatshops. In some East Asia/Pacific countries, 1 in 3 households depend on their children's labour; and 2-16% of GNP in the region is earned through a sex industry in which, for some Mekong countries, 33% are under 16 (UNICEF/EAPRO, Child Protection:5).
 
Statistics from elsewhere are not happier. In the most seriously affected provinces of Brazil, over 700,000 children from 10-14 are "working and not attending primary school"; over 2 million work and attend part time. Another 2 million or so of 15-17 year olds are similarly distributed. In addition, close to 600,000 5-9 year olds are "in the work market", and while below official school-starting age, are seriously risking both their future life and their eventual success in school by undermining their health and establishing patterns of family income earning which are hard to break (UNICEF/Brazil informal memo).
 
Poverty statistics on working and street children relate closely with their exclusion from education. In 1993 New Delhi, 63% of working children were illiterate; 17% completed primary school and 61% of the girls had never been to school. In Yangon, 39% had no schooling and 54% had dropped out by 2nd grade. 64% of Cambodian street children are estimated not go to school, most are girls; estimates for minority children in remote areas are worse (Suvira:51). Histories of working children with respect to exclusion from education are all too similar: rural areas with no or incomplete access to primary schools; low income families, single-parents with limited educational background; marginal urban areas with few, overcrowded schools; communities and schools with high levels of crime and violence; school failure, repetition and abuse.
 
Two critical issues for all of these children are choice and consequences. Research suggests that many want to work -- to support families, have the freedom to make their own life-decisions, avoid ineffective and unfriendly schools. The fact is also that many do not. Interviews with 84 Cambodian street children found "the majority aspired to go to school because they wanted to read like other people and get a job" (Suvira:53) Where children do choose to work, many of these choices are pyrrhic; the consequences serious and long-term. Their jobs may give them immediate and necessary income, but little of the knowledge or skills to enable their moving to better, more flexible, stable or financially secure employment. Much of the work is informal, providing a life of limited alternatives and increasing dependency on the vagaries of uncertain economies, unscrupulous adults, political expediency and fleeting charity. It also creates a great deal of personal risk, subjecting especially girls to sexual abuse.
 
Working children of seasonal migrant families are probably less at risk than those who work on their own, protected for the most part within the framework of a coherent community structure. They are, however, vulnerable to exclusion on a wide range of social dimensions, including education, given families' often high levels of poverty, the unhealthy working conditions (especially for young children) and the instability of an enforced transient lifestyle. In Mexico, over 3.5 million people are estimated to be in seasonal agricultural work, with numbers increasing "as one of the few alternatives to survival" given the endemic poverty, lack of productive infrastructure and deteriorating natural resources of their communities (UNICEF/Mexico memo). Approximately 900,000 of these are children, 50% under 14. Their contribution to family income is critical, estimated at over 30%, but at a cost: 40% illiterate; 21.5% never in school.
 
Globally, the number of children in this situation is again difficult to assess. The living conditions and size of such "floating communities" are often not well monitored by governments; nor is their children's absence from school. The dilemma is in how to provide appropriate educational opportunities and facilitate their learning when their work is so intimately woven into their lives. It is clear that there are risks to both the children and their families in forcing them into educational arrangements in ways which undercut the stability they have managed to create. But without an education, their future is unlikely to be less vulnerable than their present.
 
Summary
 
Irrespective of the particular categorization, all excluded children reflect a situation of societies and their governance systems simply not caring enough. Many of the conditions which make children vulnerable and put them at risk may be unplanned, but this implies failure by omission: exclusion is created because priorities are not on children, and especially not on those considered in some way expendable. Many policy-makers and systems "... donít consider the poorest and marginalized important enough. The unreached are not politically powerful; they have no voice" (Black in Farzanegan:114); "... in many places, there is not a political decision to reach the poorest. Usually they do not complain, or no one can hear their voices and cries. No one represents them nor asks for their rights" (Andrade in Farzanegan:114). Without a strong advocacy voice on behalf of such children and their families, it appears there is little incentive for proactive action in taking on the political and financial costs involved.
 
Equally as serious are the problems of exclusion created by commission. National policies which put resources into the military instead of helping vulnerable communities move their children from work and into good schools, exclude. Donor countries exclude the education rights of vulnerable children by failing to complete the 20/20 arrangement, by tying aid to domestic purchases and by focusing on countries and issues more likely to produce trading partners than global social equity. Policy-makers actively exclude when they choose to ask for "quick fix" answers rather than making long-term programme commitments. Designers of social programmes exclude when they develop activities which are "mostly remedial, not designed to help build poor people's capacity and strengthen with dignity their own potential Ö do not speak to the needs and expectations of the homeless and hopeless" (Cerqueira in Farzanegan:115).
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