Africa’s kids deprived of secondary education: UNOctober 26th, 2011 - 11:57 am ICT by IANS
United Nations, Oct 26 (IANS) Two out of three children in sub-Saharan Africa are left out of secondary school as governments are having trouble meeting the increased demand, the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) said in a report.
The report titled “Global Education Digest 2011: Comparing Education Statistics Across the World”, which was launched at a press conference at the UN Headquarters, said that in sub-Saharan Africa, there are enough school places for just 36 percent of children of age to enroll.
Albert Motivans, head of education indicators and data analysis at the Unesco Institute for Statistics, said secondary education was “vital for development” and was the bridge to the world of work.
Motivans said secondary education has important benefits at the societal level to stimulate economies due to a more skilled workforce.
“We seek greater recognition of the role of secondary education, as more countries near universal primary education, this new report sets out how secondary education should be recognised as a key element of post 2015 development agenda,” he said.
Globally, secondary schools have been accommodating nearly 100 million more students each decade, said the report.
With increasing numbers of children attending and finishing primary school education, the demand for places in secondary education has increased exponentially, it said.
The report also said that a child in the last grade of primary school only has at best a 75 percent chance of making the transition into lower secondary school in about 20 countries around the world, with an “overwhelming” majority in sub-Saharan Africa.
“There can be no escape from poverty without a vast expansion of secondary education,” Unesco Director-General Irina Bokova said in a press release.
“This is a minimum entitlement for equipping youth with the knowledge and skills they need to secure decent livelihoods in today’s globalised world. It is going to take ambition and commitment to meet this challenge,” she said.
The report, which was produced by the Unesco Institute for Statistics, showed a wide-range of indicators on the extent to which girls and boys are enrolling and finishing secondary education.
Girls face the greatest barriers as the gender gap widens, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, said the report.
About 35 million girls were enrolled in lower secondary education in 2009, it said.
Hendrik van der Pol, director of the Unesco Institute for Statistics, said: “All of these data underscore a central message — secondary education is the next great challenge.”
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