News / Africa

UN Study Urges End to Skills Gap in Developing World

William Eagle
Educationalists say young people need at least primary school and some secondary school education to get jobs that are secure and well paid.
 
But a new United Nations report says that is not the case in much of the developing world.  The study, called Putting Education to Work, is part of UNESCO’s yearly publication, the Education for All Global Monitoring Report.

A young boy during a lesson at the Mugosi Primary School, which caters mostly for children of the Kahe refugee camp in the town of Kitschoro, in northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. (UNESCO/M.Hofer)A young boy during a lesson at the Mugosi Primary School, which caters mostly for children of the Kahe refugee camp in the town of Kitschoro, in northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. (UNESCO/M.Hofer)
x
A young boy during a lesson at the Mugosi Primary School, which caters mostly for children of the Kahe refugee camp in the town of Kitschoro, in northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. (UNESCO/M.Hofer)
A young boy during a lesson at the Mugosi Primary School, which caters mostly for children of the Kahe refugee camp in the town of Kitschoro, in northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. (UNESCO/M.Hofer)
It says over 200 million young people in the developing world have not completed primary school and are lacking the skills needed to move out of poverty.  Nearly 130 million are in primaryschool but cannot read or write.
 
In sub-Saharan Africa, it says a third of young people are failing to complete primary school, while millions more do not go on to secondary school.  Those who are most affected come from underfunded rural and urban areas, as well as young women and men who drop out of school to have children or to work for the family. 
 
Pauline Rose, the director of the Education for All Global Monitoring Report, said schools are failing to provide a bridge between school and work -- a problem that's leaving between one in eight young people worldwide unemployed and one in four working in poverty.
 
She said students need a strong foundation in numeracy and literacy, vocational skills, and the ability to solve problems rather than learn by rote.  Students must also be offered course work that reflects local realities.  For example, she said many urban and rural students benefit from courses in financial management and microfinance.
 
Rose says sometimes these topics can be included in the local curricula or offered by alternative sources including non-governmental organizations.

Bichera Ntamwinsa,23, picks berries from her coffee plants in Bukavu, Democratic Republic of the Congo. Farmer field schools and agricultural cooperatives can help smallholder farmers gain skills while strengthening their common voice. (UNESCO/Tim Dirven/Bichera Ntamwinsa,23, picks berries from her coffee plants in Bukavu, Democratic Republic of the Congo. Farmer field schools and agricultural cooperatives can help smallholder farmers gain skills while strengthening their common voice. (UNESCO/Tim Dirven/
x
Bichera Ntamwinsa,23, picks berries from her coffee plants in Bukavu, Democratic Republic of the Congo. Farmer field schools and agricultural cooperatives can help smallholder farmers gain skills while strengthening their common voice. (UNESCO/Tim Dirven/
Bichera Ntamwinsa,23, picks berries from her coffee plants in Bukavu, Democratic Republic of the Congo. Farmer field schools and agricultural cooperatives can help smallholder farmers gain skills while strengthening their common voice. (UNESCO/Tim Dirven/
"So non-governmental organizations have been working to provide young people with training that gives them skills in managing their finances, in understanding how to use assets., " she said.  "[That includes] animals, cows for example, or other types of assets which they can then translate into running a business and making a profit.  These NGOs have been so successful that within a short period of time young people who’ve gone through them have actually set up businesses and made considerable profit."
 
Rose said alternative means of education are also needed for school leavers, who she says deserve a second chance to get an education. 
 
"There are opportunities to learn through distance education, " she said, "and we find in countries like Mexico and Namibia that large numbers of young people are reached through distance education systems, and these young people are given materials that they can learn at their own pace. They have some face to face tutorials and so on.  They have, where appropriate, television training and tutoring.  So there’s a wide range of flexible approaches to learning that can help young people get the skills that they need."

A Congolese boy at a charcoal market close to the town of Kitschoro. Charcoal is one of the main businesses in the area and many children have to work to support their families instead of going to school, the Democratic Republic of the Congo. (UNESCO/M. HA Congolese boy at a charcoal market close to the town of Kitschoro. Charcoal is one of the main businesses in the area and many children have to work to support their families instead of going to school, the Democratic Republic of the Congo. (UNESCO/M. H
x
A Congolese boy at a charcoal market close to the town of Kitschoro. Charcoal is one of the main businesses in the area and many children have to work to support their families instead of going to school, the Democratic Republic of the Congo. (UNESCO/M. H
A Congolese boy at a charcoal market close to the town of Kitschoro. Charcoal is one of the main businesses in the area and many children have to work to support their families instead of going to school, the Democratic Republic of the Congo. (UNESCO/M. H
Another popular alternative in Africa and also parts of South Asia are traditional apprenticeships taught by carpenters, hairdressers and other master craftspeople.  Rose says the approach mainly benefits those who have had some primary school, but who do not have relevant skills for work.   She said the system can be adapted to make sure that women are also included and that students receive proper accreditation.
 
"We find in Senegal," she said, "the majority of young people are actually learning through traditional apprenticeships rather than through technical and vocational education.  In the mid-2000’s, about 10,000 had been trained through technical and vocational education compared to 440,000 trained through these traditional apprenticeships. And, there are professional bodies which have been set up to formally recognize their qualifications and help these young people to use their skills in different trades."
 
Rose said some East Asian countries including Singapore and Korea have boosted their economies with robust yet flexible systems that teach trades and provide young people the chance to work and return to school.
 
She said some African countries are using their own ideas for improving training and development.
 
Rose said Ethiopia’s Ministry of Education has made a commitment to ensuring the disadvantaged are learning the skills needed to improve their work.
 
"We’ve seen in Ethiopia," she explained, "that this has led to the massive expansion of the primary school system in a relatively short amount of time. The out of school numbers have decreased dramatically.  It’s potentially on track to achieve universal primary education by 2015, which ten years ago the country wouldn’t have dreamt of.  They are now expanding that ambition to reaching universal secondary school by 2020 and hoping that that will translate into economic  growth."

A computer training course at Green Hill Academy in Kampala,Uganda, financed by Denmark's aid agency. (UNESCO/Mikkel Ostergaard/Panos)A computer training course at Green Hill Academy in Kampala,Uganda, financed by Denmark's aid agency. (UNESCO/Mikkel Ostergaard/Panos)
x
A computer training course at Green Hill Academy in Kampala,Uganda, financed by Denmark's aid agency. (UNESCO/Mikkel Ostergaard/Panos)
A computer training course at Green Hill Academy in Kampala,Uganda, financed by Denmark's aid agency. (UNESCO/Mikkel Ostergaard/Panos)
Rose said Rwanda is making it easier for students to continue on to secondary school, by ending school fees.  The government has also done away with exams that determine whether students in the final year of primary school can go forward.
 
"In some circumstances," she said, "it means that young people will continue their schooling within one school environment from the first grade of primary to the last grade of lower secondary. The benefit is there’s a smoother transition unlike some other systems in Africa where they have an end of primary school leaving exam, and some are not able to continue if they fail the exam.   [Instead], there is a smooth transition for young people to continue into the lower secondary school grades."
 
According to the Global Monitoring Report, $ 16 billion is needed to ensure that young people worldwide go to primary school, with an additional eight billion dollars needed to guarantee access to lower secondary school.

Cover for Youth and Skills Report (2012 UNESCO / Education for All)Cover for Youth and Skills Report (2012 UNESCO / Education for All)
x
Cover for Youth and Skills Report (2012 UNESCO / Education for All)
Cover for Youth and Skills Report (2012 UNESCO / Education for All)
Most donor countries have agreed to commit 0.7 percent of GDP to aid but many are not fulfilling their commitments.  Rose says there’s also a role for the private sector – which now accounts for about five percent of all aid. 
 
"One of the biggest examples internationally," she said, "is the Mastercard Foundation which supports many programs worldwide to enhance youth skills.   There’s also some national foundations such as in Egypt the Sawiris Foundation  founded by a national philanthropist which is also reaching out to young people, recognizing the huge problems of youth unemployment and what is needed to give them the skills to get decent jobs.  So there are examples, but they need to be scaled up. "
 
The Global Monitoring Report suggests donors provide more aid to strengthening the educational systems of poor countries, rather than using it to educate foreign students in developed countries.
 
It notes that a scholarship to Japan could provide funding for 72 secondary schools students in Ghana.  That, say educationalists, could go part of the way in filling the funding gap. 

Listen to report on new Education for All Global Monitoring Report
Listen to report on new Education for All Global Monitoring Reporti
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs