China has ranked as the best developing country in Asia for children to grow up in for the second year in a row, as it continues to make impressive progress in child wellbeing, according to a new report by Save the Children.
Launched in the lead up to International Children's Day on June 1st, The Many Faces of Exclusionexamines countries on a range of indicators related to childhood like child marriage, teenage pregnancy and child mortality, with the China performing well right across the board.
In the 2018 report’s ‘End of Childhood Index’, which ranks countries according to where childhood is most and least threatened, China improved one spot to 40th, marginally behind the United States (36th) and Russia (37th). Regional neighbours Mongolia (71st), Thailand (85th), Vietnam (96th), Myanmar (107th) and Nepal (138th) all ranked lower.
“Children in China experience the safest childhoods of all developing nations in Asia, which is a tremendous achievement. China has made tremendous economic progress in recent years, and also progress in improving the wellbeing of children across the country,” Save the Children Country Director in China, Wang Chao said.
China made the greatest gains in education enrollment rates and the nutritional status of children. Wang said that while this was promising, there was still room for improvement.
“While some progress is being made in this area, children with disabilities in China by and large are still being left behind. Far greater investment needs to be made in inclusive education to enable all children – regardless of their ability – to be able to attend and learn at mainstream schools.”
On 1 May 2017, the revised Regulation of Education of Person with Disabilities came into force. It is the first time that Inclusive education is written in the Chinese regulation. While the revised regulations will benefit a large number of children, there is still a long way to go until they are fully implemented, and until children stop suffering from negative stigmas associated with disabilities.
In its second year, Save the Children’s report includes a ranking of 175 countries where childhood is most and least threatened as a result of poor health, malnutrition, exclusion from education, child labour, child marriage, early pregnancy and extreme violence.
Singapore and Slovenia both rank first, with Norway, Sweden and Finland rounding out the top five. Eight of the bottom 10 countries are in West and Central Africa, with Niger ranked last for the second year running.
The report also found that:
· More than one billion children live in countries plagued by poverty; 240 million in countries affected by conflict and fragility; and more than 575 million girls live in countries where gender bias is a serious issue.
· Almost 153 million children are living in 20 countries affected by all three threats—including South Sudan, Somalia, Yemen and Afghanistan.
· The incidence of child labour in countries affected by armed conflict is 77% higher than the global average. Conflict also makes girls more vulnerable to child marriage.
· Only four of 34 fragile or conflict-affected states with available data have achieved, or nearly achieved, universal primary education.
· In East Asia and the Pacific, 76% of countries made progress, but the Philippines saw a decline due to higher levels of malnutrition causing stunted growth.
Save the Children is calling on governments around the world to ensure that no child dies from preventable or treatable causes or is subjected to extreme violence; is robbed of a future as a result of malnutrition, early or forced marriage, early pregnancy, or forced labour; and that they have access to a quality education.