In most cases, high poverty rates and poor education go hand-in-hand with each other. However, some of the poorest nations in the world are taking steps to better their educational systems. One of the best ways to do this is to increase access to education by creating new schools.
La Salle Secondary School, South Sudan
In 2011, South Sudan gained independence and became the world’s youngest country after decades of civil war. Unfortunately, it also became one of the world’s poorest countries with a national poverty rate of 82.3% in 2016.
In addition to its high poverty, according to data from 2018, just about a third of the country’s population is literate. With less than 5% of eligible children attending secondary school and “72% of primary-aged children” not attending primary school in 2017, South Sudan is “the most educationally challenged [country] in the world,” the La Salle International Foundation says.
In response to the issue, in 2018, the De La Salle Brothers established a new all-boys high school in Rumbek. The school can hold more than 300 students and training has been provided to local teachers to ensure that students are receiving the best education possible. Classes at the La Salle Secondary School began in 2019.
Royal International College, Equatorial Guinea
Equatorial Guinea is located on the West Coast of Africa and is the only African country to have Spanish as its primary language. Despite standing as a resource-rich country thanks to its minerals and oil reserves, it still had a poverty rate of 76.8% in 2006.
Education in Equatorial Guinea is cost-free and mandatory for children up until age 14. However, Equatorial Guinea tends to have “high dropout rates,” and in 2004, just 50% of primary-aged students attended primary school in the country, the U.N. said.
Also, the entire country has only one main tertiary institution for post-secondary students, the National University of Equatorial Guinea. The goal of the Royal International College is to provide more post-secondary options for students while preparing them for the global stage. The Royal International College plans to open in 2023, boasting an internationally accredited curriculum and international teachers. The school will contain 20 classrooms, a computer lab, a science lab, a reading room and various recreational facilities.
Africa’s island nation, Madagascar, had a poverty rate of 70.7% in 2012. According to UNESCO, as for education, one-third of Madagascar’s children do not finish primary school. Furthermore, 97% of 10-year-old children in the country do not have the reading skills to “read single sentences,” Forbes reported.
In 2017, primary school enrollment stood high at 76% but took a nosedive to about 24% for lower and upper secondary schools. Even though enrollment in primary school is high, only 7% of children actually finished primary school in 2017.
Thanks to Maggie Grout’s nonprofit, Thinking Huts, Fianarantsoa city welcomed a new school in April 2022 named Bougainvillea. Unlike most schools in the world, Bougainvillea is an entirely 3D-printed school. Planning behind Bougainvillea took seven years; but, the building construction took about three weeks. Bougainvillea allows up to 30 students to learn at a time.
West African Vocational Schools, Guinea Bissau
Guinea Bissau is a tropical country on the West Coast of Africa. The country’s poverty rate stood at 47.7% in 2018. Education in Guinea Bissau is mandatory for children between the ages of 7 and 14; however, just 55% of children participate in basic education.
The West African Vocational Schools (WAVS) in Bissau have provided more than 1,000 individuals with vocational skills over the last 10 years. In 2020, WAVS expanded, building a 28-acre new campus in the nation’s capital city.
The new WAVS campus aims to train 1,000 students annually, unlike the initial campus, which could only train 1,000 students per 10 years. Once the school opened in April 2022, students had access to English, French and computer classes.
With these new schools bringing educational opportunities to thousands of children, hope exists that the upcoming generation will be well-prepared both academically and professionally. Furthermore, as education continues to improve, the world can possibly anticipate a dip in the global poverty rate.
– Tyshon Johnson