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UNESCO report signals to high dropout rates in education

Nov 29, 2012

The Global Education Digestive 2012 by UNESCO gives an account of the state of education in countries across the globe and the need for accelerated action to ensure good education for the young generation.

According to a new report by UNESCO, education all over the world, despite all the leaps in development and the MDGs to support it, paints a mixed picture. The report, called Global Education Digestive 2012 by UNESCO contains some important findings which should perhaps be taken seriously by governments. As Hendrik van der Pol, UIS director puts it, “We cannot afford to ignore these findings from both a moral and economic perspective. The world has just a few short years to make good on the promise to fulfill every child’s right to primary education by 2015. The data in the Digest show that school systems are reaching more children but losing them due to inefficiencies, which lead to grade repetition and early school leaving. It is far more difficult and costly to reach children once they leave school than to address the barriers and bottlenecks in the systems.”

One of the major concerns that arises out of the report is the drop-out rates that do not seem to have gone down over the years. Across the world, there are high rates of students leaving school, especially pronounced in the developing world. Sub-Saharan Africa sees 42 per cent of its pupils laving school early, with one in six leaving before grade 2.In South and West Asia, out of every 100 pupils wo start primary school, 33 will leave before reaching the last grade. While in Latin America and the Caribbean, 17 per cent of pupils leave school before completing primary education.

South Asian countries do not fare good, if number are anything to go by: 13.54 million children are leaving school before completing primary education. And to give an idea of the sheer magnitude, this number is equal to the primary school-age population of Sri Lanka, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Bhutan, and  one-third of Afghanistan put together. Understandably, Pakistan has the highest rate of dropouts at 38.5 per cent. Due to religious intolerance and extremism, education has suffered the most in the country. After that comes Nepal with 38.3 per cent and Bangladesh comes a close third with 33.8 per cent. The regional dropout rate is the highest for South Asia at 33 per cent.

The report calls South Asia’s progress ‘modest’ based on the performance of another important indicator of education well-being in the report: repetition of class by a pupil. In that sense, Pakistan, Bhutan an India have made much progress where repetitions are concerned. Girls to boys dropout rates are also very different; Pakistan takes the top spot with an alarming 41.1 per cent of girls dropping out and 40.2 per cent of Nepali girls dropping out.

The report does bring to fore aspects that need to be tackled actively by governments, like the poor girl to boy drop out ratios, the difference between urban and rich households and rural and poor ones. The report in a way points to a crucial dilemma for countries in the South; that without the creation of proper education systems and an educated young generation, true progress is a difficult thing to achieve.

For the report, click here

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