African Education, Children Education Africa, Discovery Education Africa, Education Africa
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In 2000, the United Nations adopted the Millennium Development Goals, a set of development goals for the year 2015. The second of them was to achieve Universal Primary Education, more specifically, “to ensure that by 2015, children everywhere, boys and girls alike will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling.” That same year, the World Education Forum met in Dakar, Senegal, and adopted the Dakar Framework for Action reaffirming the commitment to achieving Education for All by the year 2015.
At the time, according to UNESCO, only 57% of African children were enrolled in primary schools, the lowest enrollment rate of any region surveyed. The report also showed marked gender inequalities: in almost all countries enrollment of boys far outpaced that of girls.
Steps such as the abolition of school fees, investments in teaching infrastructure and resources, and school meals from the World Food Programme helped drive enrollment up by millions. Yet despite the significant progress of many countries, the world fell short of meeting its goal of UPE. In sub-Saharan Africa as of 2013, only about 79% of primary school-age children were enrolled in school.59 million children of primary-school age were out of school, and enrollment of girls continued to lag behind that of boys.
Following the expiration of the MDGs in 2015, the UN adopted a set of Sustainable Development Goals for the year 2030. The fourth goal addressed education, with the stated aim to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.” The World Education Forum also convened in Incheon, Korea to discuss the implementation of this goal, and adopted the Incheon Declaration for Education 2030. It remains to be seen what effect the latest measures have on the state of education participation.
Due to high linguistic diversity, the legacy of colonialism and the need for knowledge of international languages such as English and French in employment and higher education, most schooling in Africa takes places in languages that teachers and pupils do not speak natively, and in some cases simply do not understand. There is considerable evidence that pupils schooled in a second language achieve poorer results than those schooled in their mother tongue, as lack of proficiency in the second language impairs understanding and encourages ineffective rote learning. Although UNESCO have recommended since the 1950s that children be taught early literacy in their mother tongue, progressing later to other languages, not all African countries implement this effectively. Even where the earliest grades are taught in the mother tongue, pupils are typically forced to switch to languages such as English and French before acquiring proficiency in these languages.
Lack of proper facilities and educators
Another reason for the low education rates in Africa is the lack of proper schooling facilities and unequal opportunity for education across countries. Many schools across Africa find it hard to employ teachers due to the low pay and lack of suitable people. This is particularly true for schools in remote areas. Most people who manage to receive education would prefer to move to big cities or even overseas where more opportunities and higher pay await. Thus, there will be an overly large class sizes and high average number of students per teacher in a school. Moreover, the teachers are usually those unqualified with few teaching aids and poor textbook provision. Due to this, children attending schools in rural areas usually attain poorer results in standardised tests compared to their urban counterparts. This can be seen in the reports given by the Northern and Eastern Africa Consortium for Monitoring Educational Quality (SACMEQ). Those taking the tests in rural areas score much lower than those in small towns and big cities. This shows a lack of equal education opportunity given to children from different parts of the same country.
With teachers being less qualified than others in urban areas the teaching to learning environment takes an effect amongst the students. In one instance teachers took the same test as their students and three fourths of them had failed. In addition, those that do not receive the same education to those in the bigger cities have trouble even after graduation with reading, writing, and doing math.Students who do not attain the same equal education to those in urban environments do not achieve the same outcome in establishing success with a career. With education being a major concern towards achieving a career and establishing a future, Africa needs to be aware that equal education needs to be established within all schools throughout the countries.