14 août 2022

West Africa: 80% of 10-year-olds are illiterate

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Learning losses are a manifestation of the current challenges facing the education sector in West and Central Africa. A situation exacerbated by lack of investment and weak political will.

Ministers of Finance and Education from 18 West and Central African countries committed themselves on 27 June in Ghana to a new World Bank strategy. The strategy provides a roadmap for investments to improve learning and provide young people with the skills needed to secure productive employment.

According to the Bank, the strategy is about the early years in a stimulating environment that prepares children for lifelong learning, from the day they enter the classroom until the end of tertiary education, with all the skills needed to get a good job.

Despite recent progress, education in West and Central Africa is in crisis, with 80% of 10-year-olds unable to read, and over 32 million children out of school. This is the largest share of any region in the world.

In addition to basic skills, the roadmap will focus on the need to increase the enrolment of girls in secondary schools, to increase enrolment in tertiary education, particularly in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and other disciplines relevant to the region's labour markets.

In implementing this strategy, while the World Bank has guaranteed financial support and expertise, it has called on the countries involved to show political will. 

They will also be able to count on the support of other regional organisations and development partners, including UNICEF, UNESCO, the UK Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (UK FCDO), the US Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

 

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