Celebrating the Universal children’s day (20th November), a new report from FRA, the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights on ‘Combating child poverty: an issue of fundamental right’, has recently shown that child poverty is a common matter across Member States in which one in four children under the age of 18 are at risk of poverty or social exclusion.

Teachers and education trade unions play are important supporters of reducing child poverty. Poverty deprives children of educational opportunities, childcare, this in turn means that children living in poverty are also more likely to be impoverished when they are older and this is likely to be the case for their children. High levels of poverty make it difficult to access education  thereby, reducing the quality of education. This in turn can lead to a lifelong trajectory of low educational attainment for children. The report illustrates that the level of poverty differs across the EU and between Member States depending on the level of social protection through social transfers such as education benefits.

According to the report, access to inclusive education is a key instrument in eliminating children poverty. Notably, there is a lack of access to mainstream education for children with disabilities across Europe. Hence, the report highlights country-specific programmes of good practises such as the ‘Promociona’ programme in Spain focusing on social inclusion of Roma children through education or the introduction of the legal entitlement to early childhood education and care (ECEC) in Sweden.

ETUCE asserts that education is a fundamental human right - as depicted in the Convention on the Rights of the Child (article 28). Hence, all children have the right to adequate education free from poverty and regardless of their background.

On occasion of this international day, ETUCE Director, Susan Flocken, said: “Poverty and poor education are often interconnected. Education is key for children at risk of marginalisation and social exclusion to lift them out of poverty and participate fully in society.. Education institutions, teachers and other education personnel and their unions play a major role in helping children and young people see their human rights and dignity fully respected.”.

To read the full report on ‘Combating child poverty: an issue of fundamental right’, please click here.

To learn more about the international day for children, please click here.