- Published on Thursday, 31 January 2013 03:11
- Written by MOHAMED MAMBO
- Hits: 1146
THE United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) launched 2012 Education For All (EFA) Global Monitoring Report in Dar es Salaam recently, which conducted an extensive research and statistics to analyze, identify and understand the access disadvantaged young people, different educational barriers between developed countries and developing countries, the problems, obstacles, challenges to the delivery of solution.
More than 56 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa aged 15- 24 have not completed primary school and need alternative pathways to acquire basic skills for employment and prosperity, a report by the UNESCO has revealed.
This is equivalent to one in three of the entire region’s youth population, according to UNESCO, in its 465 pages of tenth edition of the Education for All (EFA) Global Monitoring Report titled ‘Putting Education to Work’. The edition describes how governments can give young people a better start in life so that they can greet the world of work with confidence.
It also identifies the current status of funding for achieving the Education for All goals, outlining the roles that governments, donors and the private sector can play in raising new resources and using them more effectively. The report says the growing youth population in sub- Saharan Africa is such that the skills deficit is likely to get bigger.
Already, around two-thirds of the population in Africa is under 25 years, the report says. It says that in the world, an eighth of young people are unemployed and a quarter is trapped in jobs that keep them on or below the poverty line, the report says. This report reminds us that education is not only about making sure all children can attend school.
It is about setting young people up for life, by giving them opportunities to find decent work, earn a living, contributing to their communities and societies, and fulfilling their potential. At the wider level, it is about helping countries nurture the workforce they need to grow in the global economy.
There has been undeniable progress towards the six EFA goals — including an expansion of early childhood care and education and improvements in gender parity at primary level. However, with three years to go until the 2015 deadline, the world is still not on track while the progress towards some goals is faltering.
The number of children out of school has Stagnated for the first time since 2000. Adult literacy and quality of education still demand faster progress. Recent developments ascribe ever greater urgency to ensuring equitable access to appropriate skills development programmes, says Irina Bokova, Director General of the organisation in her introduction remarks in the report.
The report reveals that around 200 million young people need a second chance to acquire the basic literacy and numeracy skills, which are essential to learning further skills for work. In all of this, women and the poor face particular hardship.
“We must see the growing numbers of young people who are unemployed or trapped in poverty as a call to action — to meet their needs by 2015 and to keep momentum after then. We can achieve universal lower secondary education by 2030, and we must.”
Donors’ commitment to education may be waning, and this is deeply worrying. Government budgets are under pressure today, but we must not risk the gains made since 2000 by reducing engagement now. Evidence in this Report shows that funds spent on education generate ten to fifteen times as much in economic growth over a person’s lifetime. Now is the time to invest for the future.
We must think creatively and use the resources at our disposal. Governments and donors must continue to prioritize education. Countries should look to their own resources, which could be giving millions of children and young people skills for life. Whatever the source of funding, the needs of the disadvantaged must be a high priority in every strategy.
Young people everywhere have great potential -- this must be developed. “I hope this report will catalyse renewed efforts worlwide to educate children and young people so they can greet the world with confidence, follow their ambitions and live the lives,” concludes Irina.
The report takes also a special interest in identifying and understanding the access disadvantaged young people have to skills development that can lead to better jobs – secure work that pays enough to buy food and put money in their pockets, jobs that can lift them out of poverty.
It identifies three main types of skills that all young people need – foundation, transferable, and technical and vocational skills – and the contexts in which they may be acquired: Foundation skills: At their most elemental, include the literacy and numeracy skills necessary for getting work that can pay enough to meet daily needs.
These skills are also a prerequisite for continuing in education and training, and for acquiring transferable and technical and vocational skills that enhance the prospect of getting good jobs. Transferable skills include the ability to solve problems, communicate ideas and information effectively, be creative, show leadership and conscientiousness, and demonstrate entrepreneurial capabilities.
People need these skills to be able to adapt to different work environments and so improve their chances of staying in gainful employment while acquiring technical and vocational skills. Many jobs require specific technical know-how, from growing vegetables to using a sewing machine, laying bricks or using a computer.
The ‘Pathways to Skills’ illustrated in the Report can act as a tool for understanding skills development needs and the areas where policy action should be targeted. Young people can acquire the three types of skills through formal general education and its extension, technical and vocational education.
Alternatively, those who have missed out on formal schooling can benefit from skills training opportunities ranging from a second chance to acquire foundation skills to workbased training, including apprenticeships and Farm-based training. Many young people face a difficult transition from school to work.
The disadvantage that youth often experience in the labour market is reflected in both a lack of jobs and the low quality of jobs – including insecure, low paid work. Factors linked to disadvantage in education, such as poverty, gender and disability, are often also associated with disadvantage in the labour market.
This is not a coincidence – unequal skills development, social norms and labour market discrimination combine to lead to this outcome. Some young people, particularly in rich countries, face long spells of unemployment after leaving school.
Around 13 per cent of the world’s youth were counted as unemployed in 2011 – 75 million young people, almost 4 million more than before the economic crisis took hold in 2007. Unemployment rates are two to three times higher for young people than for adults, on average. They are six times as high for young people in Egypt, two and a half times in South Africa, four times in Italy.
In the case of pre-school, the report says that, In India’s Andhra Pradesh state, preschool enrolment in rural areas is highest among the richest 20 per cent of households, where almost one-third of children attend private institutions. Almost all children in pre-school from the poorest households are served by government providers.
Where children live can also determine the quality of the service. In rural areas of China, Peru and the United Republic of Tanzania, children who make it to pre-school are more likely than urban children to be in an overcrowded class with fewer qualified teachers and fewer learning resources.
To ensure that all children reap the benefits of pre-school, reforms are needed, including expanding facilities and making sure they are affordable, identifying appropriate ways to link pre-schools with primary schools, and coordinating preschool activities with wider early childhood interventions.
The importance of making balanced efforts to improve conditions for young children is further highlighted by a new index developed for this year’s report, which evaluates progress on this goal and its three main components: health, nutrition and education.