Wednesday, September 23, 2020

The Problem

Teacher in Empty ClassroomThe following information was taken from the report "Back to School?", produced by the Global Campaign for Education (Education International, Plan International, Oxfam, Save the Children and VSO).  According to the report, Ethiopia is  "teetering on the brink of an education crisis".  It is one of the five worst countries in the world to be a school child.  This assessment was based on 4 factors:

  • Access to universal basic education
    • Only 37% of Ethiopian children complete Primary Education, and only 12% complete Secondary Education. Two out of every three Ethiopian adules do not even have basic literacy.
  • Political will for education
    • Ethiopia has no legal guarantee for free education, and free school meals are not provided.
  • Quality and learning
    • Ethiopia has only 34% of the minimum number of primary teachers required, and only 72% of the minimum number of secondary teachers required. Furthermore, learning outcomes are low because schools only operate for half a day, resources are sorely lacking, many teachers are untrained, unmotivated and/or undisciplined, and classrooms are crowded.
  • Equal opportunity for education
    • Ethiopia ranked 51st out of 60 nations in providing education for girls. Over 80% of girls do not reach secondary school; 46% work as labourers before the age of 14 and 55% are married before the age of 18.

Education Beats Poverty

Children in ClassroomThere is compelling evidence that failing to achieve universal education holds back economic growth. Simply getting all children into school has a direct positive impact on economic growth. Then once children are in school,ensuring that the education they receive is good quality multiplies the impact because it provides them with the skills, knowledge and abilities needed to thrive in the world. A recently completed study from 50 countries established that every extra year of schooling provided to the whole population can increase average annual GDP growth by 0.37%. Where the education is good quality, the improvement of cognitive skills increases the impact to 1%. Another survey of 120 countries from between 1970- 2000 provides compelling evidence that education consistently and significantly affects economic development and is a necessary precondition for long-term economic growth. Put simply, the better the quality of education, the bigger the impact on growth. Good quality education also provides people with the knowledge and skills that they need in order to pursue their livelihoods more effectively. Completing just four years of basic education makes a farmer an average of 8.7% more productive. Having been to school also means that farmers can adapt more quickly to new techniques and technologies. Some key statistics:

  • No country has ever achieved continuous and rapid economic growth without first having at least 40% of adults able to read and write.
  • An adult who has completed primary education is likely to earn 50% more than an adult who has never been to school.
  • A single year of primary school can increase the wages people earn later in life by 5-15% for boys and even more for girls.

We have a vision to help address this problem.


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