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

Turbulent Transition Imperils Tunisia’s Arab Spring Gains

Critics say new anti-terrorism laws worsen Tunisia's situation while others put faith in country’s vibrant civil organizations, women’s movement More

Burundi’s Political Crisis May Become Humanitarian One

United Nations aid agencies issue warning as deadly violence sends tens of thousands fleeing More

Yemenis Adjust to Life Under Houthi Rule

Locals want warring parties to strike deal to stop bloodletting before deciding how country is governed 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.
Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fairi
X
Brian Padden
May 29, 2015 1:27 PM
With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.

VOA Blogs