Secondary education will reduce child marriages, according to UNICEF

South Asia has recorded one of the highest decreases in child marriages at 28% but there's a lot to work on, says UNICEF.

Staff ReporterUpdated: Thursday, September 29, 2022, 06:55 PM IST
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If all girls were to complete secondary school, the level of child marriage would likely fall by two-thirds (66 percent), according to a report released by UNICEF titled 'The Power of Education to end child marriage'.

"In many countries, marriage and schooling are viewed as incompatible, and decisions about removing a girl from school and marrying her off at a young age are often made at the same time. These decisions are influenced by the perceived value of education and the availability of employment opportunities for educated girls. Better quality and higher education may make the returns on investment in girls more readily apparent and justifiable to both parents and society," said the report by UNICEF which suggested that the percentage will further drop to 80 percent if all girls continued to higher education.

The study by UNICEF points out that none of the top five countries for child marriage has a secondary completion rate for girls above 15 percent, while in the top three countries, no more than 5 percent of girls finish secondary school.

The United Nations-funded agency also analysed the percentage distribution of adolescent girls aged 15 to 17 years currently married or in a union, by schooling status and found out that 87% of them are out of school and another 13% are in school.

According to UNICEF research, child marriage is becoming less common worldwide. The region of the world that made the most improvement over the past ten years was South Asia, where the likelihood of a girl getting married as a kid fell from over a third to under 30%.

However, 12 million girl children worldwide are married off each year.

Eastern and Southern Africa (32%) South Asia (28%) Latin America and the Caribbean (21 percent) have the lowest rates of child marriage.

If efforts to stop the problem are not stepped up, more than 100 million additional adolescent girls will wed by 2030, according to UNICEF research.

According to a UNICEF report, child marriage has increased by more than double annually on average in the parts of Ethiopia that have experienced the worst drought as of June 2022.

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