At the turn of the new millennium, the UN launched a vast campaign whose goal was to create a world with better living conditions. The campaign resulted in the conception of eight Millennium Development Goals. Universal primary education is one of them. I have always been interested in higher education but it goes without saying that “learning for all” is the first step to attain higher education. That’s why the World Bank’s Learning for All Infographic caught my attention and I wanted to share it with you.
The first thing that strikes me in the infographic is the gap between the number of children who are not able to read or write (250 million) and the number of children without access to primary education (61 million). What this means is that the education infrastructures catering to these 250 million children are not efficient enough. It’s thus essential to work not only on access to education but also on the quality of education provided.
The next important thing is the most affected areas. It’s no surprise that Sub-Saharan Africa, with half of its child population out of school, is the most affected region of the world. Africa is the future battleground for education. The continent still lacks in infrastructures, even when it comes to secondary education. But before dealing with higher education, importance must be given to learning for all.
Once realized, universal primary education will help achieve other objectives like gender equality, women’s empowerment or decrease in infant mortality. These objectives are linked to each other as education allows future mothers to take proper preventive measures. Education is also instrumental in liberating women from patriarchal domination. Moreover, the infographic shows that education is a source of economic growth. Development in education infrastructure should not depend on economic growth. It should rather be the driving force behind evolution. An improvement in educational performances can thus increase a country’s economic growth by 2 %. Likewise, education is also a key factor in reducing poverty. The World Bank thus shows that it’s through education that we can come out of obscurantism.
The last part of the infographic shows the efforts of developing countries like India and particularly the initiatives taken by the poor nations, more and more affected by the problems of education. In Ethiopia, in Bangladesh or in Nigeria, Government initiatives are encouraging girls’ education even at the secondary level. These countries now consider this issue a priority and realize the importance of an educated population in the development of a nation. The most striking initiative is that taken by Haiti which, while being the poorest country in the Americas (149th country on the Human Development Index) allows free primary education to 772,000 children.
Universal education, an everyday fact in developing countries, is far from being a reality elsewhere and it’s reassuring to see that more and more countries are becoming conscious of the fact that tomorrow’s growth depends on the education of the present population. But there’s still a long way to go, with 61 million children without access to education and inadequate education infrastructures in most of the developing world.