Letter: Education is birth control

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The Independent Online
Sir: It should come as no great surprise that education is "the key to breaking the cycle of deprivation" (report, 24 July). It has become almost a truism in Third World development that money spent on education, particularly of girls, is the best investment a country can make - in purely economic terms as well as in improving the social fabric.

There is also a clear Third World parallel with Dr Kathleen Kiernan's finding that girls who do badly at school are four times more likely to become teenage mothers than those who do well. In one study, conducted in a cross- section of countries and reported in the 1994 State of the World's Children report, the average number of children born to women with no secondary education was seven; while for women whose education had progressed to secondary level the average was approximately three, even after factors such as income were taken into account.

Our children, and our teenagers, are no different from those anywhere else.

Yours faithfully,

Bill Linton

London N13

25 July

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