5.1 Who are the ‘unreached’?
The ‘unreached’ are those children and youth who are of school age but who are not attending school. Some of these children may have never attended school, others may have attended school but dropped out. The ‘unreached’ are the priority target population of eFA.
There are many reasons why some children and youth do not attend school, including social, eco- nomic, cultural, political, geographical factors and lack of accessibility (especially for children and youth with disabilities) and family awareness about the value of education. in South east Asia, the following groups of ‘unreached’ children and youth have been identified:
- Learners from remote and rural communities
- Ethno-linguistic minorities/indigenous groups
- Girls and women, especially from rural, ethnic minorities
- Boys who under-perform and are at a higher risk of dropping out • Children from migrant families, refugees, stateless children
- Learners with disabilities and special needs
- Children from very poor families
- Child laborers
- Street children
- Children affected by HIV and AIDS
- Children in difficult circumstances
5.2 What data do we need?
Getting to know about the ‘unreached’ is the first step to ‘reaching the unreached’. For this, we need data and information that can help answer the following questions:
- Who are the ‘unreached’? – nationality, ethnicity, language, religion, social group/caste, poor, disability, other characteristics.
- Where are they? – Location, distance between home and school, means of access to school, etc.
- How many are they? – Population size, gender balance, age, etc.
- Their education situation – Past enrolment, performance, history of drop-outs, learning achievement, etc.
- Reasons for being ‘unreached’ – Family issues, social issues, health issues, school issues, etc.
- Others – Previous experiences in attempting to reach them, and the results and lesson learnt.
5.3 How to collect data and information on the ‘unreached’?
In most countries, education administrators find it difficult to collect reliable data about the ‘unreached’. School censuses collect data about children who attend school. it can be difficult to use the same school census questionnaire to collect information about out-of-school children. Such data are therefore usually derived from other sources such as population censuses, household surveys and information from local administrative records. it is important that these other sources pro- vide data identifying the whereabouts of the ‘unreached’. The data should also help to understand who these children are in terms of gender and age, and if possible also their family, household and community characteristics.
Education administrators at each level, including the schools, should use population census and household survey data to help identify the ‘unreached’ children and youth. Where appropriate, more detailed information can be gathered from local government or nGO offices about specific charac- teristics of local areas and populations that could prevent children from attending school. District Education Officers and school inspectors may also make special visits, conduct interviews or do surveys to collect additional data and information from local areas and stakeholders.
Due to their close proximity to ‘unreached’ children in the local area, school teachers and students often have a good knowledge about children in their community who are not attending school. Stu- dents, for example, may be asked to find out about other children from their neighborhood or the same ethnic/linguistic group who do not attend school and report back. Teachers may also enquire in their community about children who are not attending school.
Once local ‘unreached’ children have been identified, school personnel or teachers may visit the family to understand the reasons why they do not attend school. The information collected during these visits may be included in school records and updated regularly, so that appropriate actions may be taken to bring these children to school. The annual school census questionnaire may then include an additional question to collect data on the number of out-of-school children, by gen- der and age, who are within walking distance from the school.
Please try to collect data and information on ‘unreached’ out-of-school children from the sources mentioned above, and then answer the following questions:
- In your country, which children may be considered to be ‘unreached’? Please give examples.
- What kind of data should you collect about ‘unreached’ children and youth? Why?
- From your experience,which source(s) can provide the most reliable data about ’unreached’ children and youth?
- What difficulties have you encountered while collecting data about the ‘unreached’?
- For school managers, how do you propose to collect, record and report data about the ‘unreached’?