Much has been achieved over the dozen years since the World Education Forum in Dakar, Senegal. The proportion of primary age children who are in school has increased from around 82% to 88%, while the number of children not in school has been reduced by about 40 million. Gender disparities in enrolments have greatly narrowed, and transition rates from primary to secondary school have increased. These are considerable accomplishmentshttp://www.gyapti.com.
At the same time, the high hopes for meeting the development goals for education by 2015 will turn out to have been too optimistic. The fundamental goal of achieving universal primary education by that date will be missed by a considerable margin. It seemed, some years ago, to be achievable, even in the world’s poorest countries, but going by current progress, the number of those out of school may increase again over the next few years.
The overall enrolment tally hides many imbalances that need to be tackled if enrolments are to get back on track. Dropout rates from school remain high in Sub-Saharan Africa – often because children enrol late and the quality of schooling they receive is low, making it difficult for parents to justify their continuation. Furthermore, gender parity of enrolments remains off target in almost 70 countries. The absence of girls from primary school in these cases represents a huge loss to the individuals involved, and reduced benefits for the next generation.
Many of these imbalances are caused by primary systems being of such low quality that those enrolled do not learn enough, or do not learn quickly enough, to make staying on worthwhile. Yet leaving school after five or six years without having achieved basic literacy and numeracy is a tremendous waste of financial and human resources, and sets up losses for society that extend for years ahead.