Some 125 million school children around the world are unable to read a single sentence, even after four years of attendance – a waste of $129 billion a year – a United Nations report warns, calling on Governments to draft the best teachers to teach the most underprivileged if the goal of universal education is ever to be reached.
The report proposes four strategies to provide the best teachers to reach all children with a good quality education: selecting the right teachers to reflect the diversity of the children; training teachers to support the weakest learners from the earliest grades; overcoming inequalities by allocating the best teachers to the most challenging parts of a country; and providing teachers with the right mix of Government incentives to remain in the profession and ensure all children are learning, regardless of their circumstances.
The report notes that in 2011, around half of young children had access to pre-primary education, but in sub-Saharan Africa the share was only 18 per cent. The number of children out of school was 57 million, half of whom lived in conflict-affected countries. In sub-Saharan Africa, only 23 per cent of poor girls in rural areas were completing primary education by the end of the decade. “If recent trends in the region continue, the richest boys will achieve universal primary completion in 2021, but the poorest girls will not catch up until 2086,” it warns.
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Teaching and learning: Achieving quality for all