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

Will Cuba Follow the Southeast Asia Model?

Decision to restore ties between US and Cuba has some debating whether it will lead to enhancement or regression of democracy for Communist island nation More

Kenyan Designer Finds Her Niche in Fashion Industry

‘Made in China’ fabrics underlie her success More

Report: CIA, Israel's Mossad Killed Senior Hezbollah Commander

The Washington Post story says Imad Mughniyah was killed instantly by a bomb "triggered remotely" from Tel Aviv by Mossad agents 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.
Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Lateri
X
Deborah Block
January 31, 2015 12:12 AM
Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Later

Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid