Roughly a third of children in developing nations are forced to miss school because they must work, and the same number say their schools are unsafe, according to research released on Monday.
The highest rate of absenteeism among the 41 nations surveyed was in Afghanistan, where nine out of 10 children said work made them unable to go to school, said the ChildFund Alliance, a global network that promote children’s rights.
Globally, some 59 million children do not attend primary school, according to UNICEF, the United Nations’ children’s agency.
November 20 marks Universal Children’s Day, designed to promote the U.N.’s Convention on the Rights of the Child, adopted in 1989.
The ChildFund Alliance survey questioned about 6,200 children ages 10 to 12.
“As they do so often and with such clarity, children are telling us what the problem is,” said Anne Lynam Goddard, president of ChildFund International, part of the network that conducted the poll.
“It’s up to adults to enact solutions,” she said in a statement.
Nearly a third of the children said their schools were not always safe. Danger was reported most in Burkina Faso, where one in five children said school was never safe.
The impoverished West African nation was rocked in January by an attack in its capital, Ouagadougou, claimed by al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, that killed 30 people, and it has continued to suffer sporadic attacks.
U.N. member nations last year approved a global goal that by 2030 all children should be able to complete free quality primary and secondary education, but chronic under-funding is holding back progress, a U.N. report said this year.
(Reporting by Sebastien Malo, Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women’s rights, trafficking, property rights and climate change.