Education is not only a fundamental human right, but also a driver of financial and social development. Citing education’s positive impact on income, health, democracy, governance, tolerance, conflict resolution, plus environmental protection, “education transforms life, ” the GMR concluded.
The Asia-Pacific area, especially East Asia and the Pacific cycles, demonstrates the power of education. For instance, the annual growth in income per capita between 1965 plus 2010 was 3. 4% in East Asia and the Pacific, while it was only 0. 8% in sub-Saharan Africa. The difference in preliminary levels of education among the population can explain about half of the differences in growth rates over those 45 years. At the same time, the data suggest that for schooling to have its full impact, it offers to be delivered with equity. For instance, the number of average years spent in school for Viet Nam and Pakistan were similar in 2005 (4. 9 years in Viet Nam and 4. 5 years in Pakistan). However , access to education has been unequally distributed in Pakistan using more than 50% of the population living excluding received formal education, compared to just 8% in Viet Nam. Differences in the distribution of education among Viet Nam and Pakistan can explain the 60% of the for each capita income growth between 2006 and 2010 during which Viet Nam surpassed Pakistan in per capita income. If Pakistan were to have a similar distribution of education since Viet Nam, its average growth in per capita income more than this period would have increased by one 7%.
Nevertheless , bringing more children into college is not enough. Some countries are facing a “learning crisis” in which the quality of education is reduced and students’ learning achievements are dismal. Among the 650 million major school age children worldwide, greater than 250 million children are failing to understand the basics of reading. While greater than 80% of primary school age group children in East Asia as well as the Pacific reach the 4th grade, more than 30% of primary college age children in South plus West Asia do not. More alarming is the case in South plus West Asia where approximately half of the students who enter grade 4 do not have basic reading skills, compared to approximately 5% in Eastern Asia and the Pacific.
The disadvantaged populations are most likely to be affected because of the lack of qualified teachers, inappropriate infrastructure and insufficient teaching and learning materials. In rural India and Pakistan for example, poor girls (10-11 years old) are least likely to be able to perform basic calculations. Other factors such as the vocabulary spoken at home, also affect students’ likelihood to obtain basic skills in school where the medium of instruction differs. The 2011 Progress in Global Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) results indicate that in the Islamic Republic of Iran, only half of the particular students whose home language is not really Farsi could reach the minimal learning standard, while over 80% of Farsi speaking students transferred the threshold.
How can we overcome the learning problems? This year’s GMR focuses on training and learning, which are keys to quality education. Since the quality of the education system is only as good as the quality of its teachers, ensuring a good training force that is supported by well-managed education systems, is one of the keys to solving the learning crisis. However , the particular teacher shortage is a persisting challenge, especially in South and West Asia. To achieve universal primary education by 2015, the Asia-Pacific region needs 213, 000 new primary school-teachers, of which 130, 000 are needed designed for South and West Asia. Additionally , 1 . 4 million new reduced secondary school teachers are needed to achieve general basic education (primary and reduced secondary education) by 2020. The teacher shortage is only one of the many issues education systems in Asia-Pacific encounter. Uneven distribution of teachers, lack of incentives to attract and support the best teachers, and dysfunctional governance systems are some of the issues that give up the quality of education.
The evidence laid out by the GMR demonstrates that the learning crisis will have a enduring negative impact on generations to come. Training should be centrally secured in the post-2015 development framework and policy-makers have to commit to taking urgent actions in making quality education a national priority.
For more information, please contact Malisa Santigul [m.santigul(at)unesco.org] at the Asia and Pacific Program of Education for All Unit plus Satoko Yano [s.yano(at)unesco.org] at the Education Policy and Change Unit.
Written by Satoko Yano [s.yano(at)unesco.org]
• EFA Worldwide Monitoring Report 2013/4
• Education Transforms