Research by the ONE campaign says that 130 million girls are missing out on school each day and has compiled the ten worst countries for girls’ education. Nine of the worst ten are in Africa.
The full list is:
- South Sudan
- Central African Republic
- Burkina Faso
It should be noted that some countries didn’t have enough data available to calculate their ranking, including Somalia and Syria. Which in itself is not a good sign.
The report does note that poor countries are not destined to perform poorly and highlights Burundi. Burundi has the world’s lowest GDP per capita but performed better in these rankings than 18 other countries.
Nor is spending more money on education guaranteed to bring more girls into schools. Niger and Ethiopia spend the recommended 20% of their domestic budgets on education but are still in the worst ten performers. Factors explored in the research include investment as it affects teacher training and teacher to pupil ratios.
The president of the ONE campaign, Gayle Smith, offered an evocative quote.
“Over 130 million girls are still out of school – that’s over 130 million potential engineers, entrepreneurs, teachers and politicians whose leadership the world is missing out on. This is not just about getting more girls into school, it’s about the women they grow up to be: educated, empowered and employed.”
Ultimately, the report concludes, “Only 45% of girls are literate, have less than one and a half years of schooling, and nearly 95% never finish secondary school.”
The Gardiner Foundation believes, as Smith says, that “the failure to both educate and count girls in education is a global crisis that perpetuates poverty.”
Poverty and education, along with other issues like healthcare, conflict, disasters, sustainability and infrastructure, are tightly interwound. Poverty threatens education and a lack of education causes poverty. But this link can be made to work in a positive direction too. Alleviating poverty through self employment boosts education and healthcare, providing opportunity and further reduction in poverty.