This blog post from Naim Keruwala was originally published by the Education for All Global Monitoring Report’s World Education Blog.
I came across this picture on my Facebook timeline a couple of days ago. It captures very well the state of education in many countries, where government schools providing free education are inadequate and quality of education is extremely poor.
In India, where I live, the government is going berserk to enrol children in schools and higher education institutes but quality has suffered badly, according to the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2012 published by Pratham, a non-government organization. The enrolment rate has risen but so has the dropout rate. Over 75.2% of all children enrolled in Standard 5 in government schools could not do simple division problems.
Globally, 61 million primary school age children are still out of school. More than 56 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa aged 15-24 have not completed primary school. In Tanzania, of 48 schools assessed, not even a single student could pass the primary school exam.
Primary education is vital for the inclusive growth of a country – and the individual. If you haven’t got primary education – because there were no schools or you went to a school that was dreadful – you don’t have an initial platform to stand on. It is the chief source of social mobility but it is not accessible to astonishingly large proportion of the poor.
Education, one of the basic rights of an individual, has become a distant dream for many; “quality education” has become a niche product accessible only by the elite. This has resulted in an extremely high skill deficit especially in developing countries, creating social malaise.
The OECD projects that India will produce 24 million graduates by the end of this decade, however:
• an earlier survey by the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) found that only 39.5% of all graduates in India were viewed as employable
• only 10% of graduates from business schools in India manage to get hired
• a study by Aspiring Minds showed that India produces more than 500,000 engineering graduates a year, but barely 3% of an assessed 55,000 graduates were viewed as ready to be employed without extra training.
The problem is not just in India or developing countries; Harvard Business Review estimates that by 2020, the worldwide shortage of highly skilled, college-educated workers could reach 40 million.. “Even America is neither producing enough college graduates to sustain a robust workforce, nor fulfilling its national promise of economic opportunity for all,” writes Daniel Greenstein.
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