Published: 2021-04-22 20:29
Last Updated: 2021-05-07 22:20
Distance education and dropping out of school has heightened during the coronavirus pandemic, which would open the doors for families, especially poor ones, to marry underage girls.
The United Nations (UN) also said that education is essential for the elimination of poverty. The UN developed a list of goals called 'The Sustainable Development Goals' (SDGs) or 'Global Goals', which are a collection of 17 interlinked global goals designed to be a "blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all". The SDGs were set in 2015 by the UN General Assembly and are intended to be achieved by the year 2030.
Yet, millions of children are still not enrolled in school, and not all school-attendees are able to achieve the required educational attainment, as more than half of students and adolescents around the world do not meet the minimum standards of proficiency in reading and mathematics.
SDG 4, is an educational goal, and it aims to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.”
The goal is split into 10 different targets, including:
1) Free primary and secondary school education
2) Equal access to quality pre-primary education
3) Equal access to affordable technical, vocational and higher education
4) Increase the number of people with relevant skills for financial success
5) Eliminate all discrimination in education
6) Universal literacy and numeracy
7) Education for sustainable development and global citizenship
8) Build and upgrade inclusive and safe schools
9) Expand higher education scholarships for developing countries
10) Increase the supply of qualified teachers in developing countries
The Association of the Jordanian Women's Solidarity Institute, Tadamon, said that Jordan suffers from serious challenges in achieving the fourth SDG, as Jordan has achieved about 74 percent of it according to the 2019 SDG indicator.
The literacy rate among males and females in the age group 15-24 years has risen to 99.1 percent, but the pre-secondary completion rate has decreased to 60.8 percent, and the primary school enrollment rate is 92.4 percent.
Thousands of underage girls are threatened with deprivation of education every year
The results of an analytical paper issued by the Department of Statistics (DoS) in 2017 on “marital status' in Jordan” showed that there is a strong relationship between early marriage and the interruption of education, while the instructions for permission to marry for those under the age of 18 stipulate that marriage should not be a cause of cutting off education for the wife.
Early marriage negatively affects girls ’education at all levels, even university and higher studies. Early marriage practically leads to their dropping out of education and thus depriving them of this basic right, therefore directly affecting their ability to obtain jobs that contribute to the development of society, while weakening their economic, political and social capacities alike.
Practices realistically preventing married female students from continuing their education in their schools
Article (6) of the Private Schools Instructions No. 1 of 1980 states: “A married female student is permitted to study in private schools based on the official attested certificates that she holds.” The same applies to public schools. The basic principle is for a girl to attend school until she finishes her secondary education, regardless of her marital status, which is supposed to be single, except that she may actually be married or divorced.
Tadamon added that early marriage of girls effectively makes them "unwanted girls" in school, and matters gets worse if they get pregnant, which may cause constant absenses, especially when giving, which drives them to withdraw from education.
Tadamon wondered about the numbers and statistics if married female students in school, and whether this information was available at the Ministry of Education. They were also curious about how many married female students have successfully completed their secondary education, and how many married female students have taken maternity leave and returned to school. Having this information readily available will reaffirm that early marriage of girls is, in fact, a denial of education for them, said Tadamon.
33 percent of illiterate Jordanian women were married at the age of 17 years or younger
The figures of the analysis paper based on the Jordanian General Population and Housing Census for the year 2015 indicated that 32.9 percent of illiterate Jordanian women and 5.5 percent of illiterate Jordanians got married at the age of 17 years or under.
The same is goes for the 25.7 percent of Jordanian women who are illiterate, the 35.8 percent of Jordanian women who hold a primary certificate, the 30.7 percent of Jordanian women who hold a middle school diploma, and 31.4 percent of Jordanian women who hold a basic certificate; they all got married at the age of 17 years or under.
An increase in the rate of marriage of minors during the year 2020 to reach 11.8 percent
Child marriage contracts increased during the year 2020, in which one or both spouses were in the age group (15-18 years), to reach 7,964 contracts for underage girls and 194 contracts for underage boys. Compared to 2019, the rate of marriage for minors was 10.6 percent (7224 contracts).
93,000 marriage contracts for minors during 10 years in Jordan
Tadamon added that 93,025 marriage contracts for minors were registered in Jordan during 10 years (2011-2020):
- In 2011, 8,093 minors were married
- 8,859 minors were married in 2012
- 9,618 minors in 2013
- 10,834 minors in 2014
- 10,866 minors in 2015
- 10,907 minors in 2016
- 10,434 minors in 2017
- 8,226 minors in 2018
- 7,224 minors in 2019
- 7,964 minors in 2020.