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

UN Ambassador Power Highlights Plight of Women Prisoners

She launches the 'Free the 20' campaign, aimed at profiling women being deprived of their freedom around the world More

Satellite Launch Sparks Spectacular Light Show

A slight delay in a satellite launch lit up the Florida sky early this morning More

Fleeing IS Killings in Syria, Family Reaches Bavaria

Exhausted, scared and under-nourished, Khalil and Maha's tale mirrors those of thousands of refugees from war-torn countries who have left their homes in the hopes of finding a better life 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.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs