Sunday, October 1, 2017

A GLOBAL EDUCATIONAL CRISIS: Students in school but learning nothing

·         Previously, a huge issue was how so many children were not attending school. For this reason one of the eight Millennium Development Goals was to achieve universal primary education over the 2000-2015 timeframe.
·         Much was achieved during the 15-year period. The number of  children not in primary schools fell from 100 million (in 2000) to 57 million (in 2015).
·         However, a new issue is emerging: the high number of children that are attendingschool but not learning anything. 2,3

·         60% of children and teenagers in the world are failing to reach basic levels of proficiency in learning
·         In sub-Sahara Africa: 88% of children and adolescents will enter adulthood without a basic proficiency in reading
·         In central and southern Asia, 81% are not reaching an adequate level in literacy
·         In North America and Europe, only 14% of young people are not reaching an adequate level of literacy
·         Pupils in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Nicaragua spent years in school but are still unable to equate simple mathematical problems or read simple sentences
·         Only 7% of pupils in Mali reach a basic level of proficiency in primary school, while in Japan, the corresponding figure was 99%
·         In Africa’s nearly 128 million school-aged children3
o   17 million will never attend school, and
o   37 million learn so little while in school, they are no different than those children who never attend school
·         In sub-Saharan Africa2, half of the total primary school population ,61 million children will reach adolescence without the basic skills needed to lead successful and productive lives

Three inter-related causes have been identified1
·         First is poverty. In the poorest countries, many pupils arrive to school in no condition to learn
·         Second is malnutrition and ill-health resulting in physical and mental underdevelopment
·         Third is low quality teaching, as too many teachers are not well educated themselves

In poor communities where students are in school but not learning, charity groups and others could:
·         Address nutritional needs such as providing free lunch, and
·         Address teaching quality issues by providing computers and WiFi. This will enable teachers and students to access MOOCs and other free, online, educational resources (e.g., Khan Academy ) .  Apart from teachers, parents, older siblings, and others should be encouraged to help facilitate the learning process.   This strategy was mentioned by Mr. Win Straube in his bestselling book, “QCE=A: Quality Generic Education is the Key.”


Posted by: Dr. Nat Tuivavalagi 

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