Between 1999 and 2012, the world saw a decrease in out-of-school adolescents in every region except for sub-Saharan Africa. Although aspects of education in Africa have improved, including more children being knowledgeable about HIV and AIDS, many obstacles remain. Below are ten facts about education in Africa to illustrate the ongoing struggle.
Top 10 Education in Africa Facts
- Africa has the highest rates of educational exclusion in the world. Over one-fifth of children between the ages of 6 and 11 and one-third between the ages of 12 and 14 are out of school.
- Almost 60 percent of children in sub-Saharan Africa between the ages of 15 and 17 are not in school.
- Girls are much more likely to stay out of school than boys. Nine million girls between the ages of about 6 and 11 in Africa will never go to school at all, compared to six million boys.
- A UNESCO study in 2012 showed that the number of primary-aged children not attending school in Africa accounted for more than half of the global total.
- Mom-connect, an SMS texting program based in South Africa, provides educational information regarding health care and health insurance coverage. The platform connects female health workers with other women who may have health questions or concerns about their families. Apps such as this one provide knowledge where gaps exist in the educational system.
- In sub-Saharan Africa, only about one-quarter of pre-primary teachers are trained. Upper secondary school teachers have a slightly better ratio: about 50 percent have training.
- UNICEF partnered with the LEGO Foundation to establish an online training platform that reached 150,000 teachers in South Africa in 2016 alone.
- The rate of gross enrollment in tertiary education in sub-Saharan Africa is the lowest in the world, sitting at only eight percent as of 2014. This is far lower than the gross enrollment of the second lowest country, Southern Asia, which is at 23 percent, where the global average is 34 percent.
- Sub-Saharan Africa opposes Eastern Europe and Central Asia when it comes to gender disparity in education among urban areas. The latter tends to see a higher level of both educational attainment and literacy among females, while sub-Saharan Africa sees the opposite. In a study by UNESCO, men in Ghana had over two more years of education than women.
- If every girl in sub-Saharan Africa completed even just a primary education, the maternal mortality rate would likely decrease by 70 percent.
These facts about education in Africa are only the beginning of the information available. Studies have shown that school enrollment rates in 11 African countries between 1999 and 2012 increased by at least 20 percent. However, issues continue to remain that result in children dropping out of school. Quality and accessibility of education in Africa must be resolved before the situation can improve. UNESCO warns that “without urgent action, the situation will likely get worse as the region faces a rising demand for education due to a still-growing school-age population.”
– Katherine Gallagher