“Lighting up the future: investing in education means fighting child poverty” is a report prepared by Save the Children which analyses schools, families and social factors that influence the access of children to education and how their interconnection increases the level of child poverty in Spain.
This report examines the variables that obstruct the education of children and cause what is known as educational poverty. In a society where knowledge is increasingly important, educational poverty will ultimately become a synonym for poverty and social exclusion. An example of this is the existence of hidden costs in education, such as text books or school materials, which families must buy and which in many cases they cannot afford, in breach of the principle of equal opportunities and free education.
“Lighting up the future: investing in education means fighting child poverty” also studies the educational policies that are implemented in the autonomous regions and gives an overview of the geographical areas which follow most closely the educational equality policies that are required to offset the inequalities existing in each region.
After analyzing these factors, the report concludes as follows:
- Education plays a key part in preventing the transfer of poverty from one generation to the next and achieving social cohesion.
- Investment in the educational system at all levels, including training and research, is essential for the future of society and its members.
- The right to education as an opportunity to achieve the maximum personal development of the child means more than just a place at school.
- The fact that education in Spain is free does not guarantee the genuine exercise of this right for children living in a situation of social exclusion.
- Official statistics do not pay enough attention to childhood and its specific features.
Given this situation, the report offers 10 proposals:
- Guarantee access to education, looking at the educational process in the broadest possible way.
- Promote schooling within educational centres to try to prevent children dropping out of school.
- Establish programmes or actions aimed at guaranteeing quality education for children, both for 0–3 year olds and those from 4-6 years of age.
- Guarantee accessibility to the school lunch service (in terms of both cost and simplicity) for all children, as well as the nutritional quality of these services.
- Guarantee out-of-school activities in educational centres for children of all ages.
- Guarantee comfortable educational centres, ensuring that physical infrastructures are in appropriate conditions, and also adequate environmental conditions that encourage attendance at educational centres, making available the necessary funds in this regard.
- Ensure quality education for all students.
- Education cannot just be the responsibility of educational centres. The different administrative authorities, associations, cultural networks and economic agents must get involved and create “educational communities”.
- Guarantee knowledge of the situation on the ground and in relation to which public education policies are targeted.
- Integration and access of minority groups in the educational process.