29.01.2014 - UNESCO Office in Dakar

Severe learning crisis in sub-Saharan Africa

Teacher Ewesit teaches children under trees at a mobile school some 50 kilometres from Lodwar, Turkana, Kenya @UNESCO/KarelPrinsloo/ ARETE

In sub-Saharan Africa, over half of children are not learning the basic, reveals the 11th Education for All Global Monitoring Report published today.

25 percent of primary school-aged African children reached grade four but still did not learn the basics and over a third did not reach grade four.

The result: 40 percent of young African people cannot read a sentence. And young people from poorer households are far less likely to be able to read.

This year's Report, Teaching and learning: Achieving quality education for all, warns that without attracting and adequately training enough teachers, the learning crisis will last for several generations and hit the disadvantaged hardest.

In many sub-Saharan African countries, only one in five of the poorest children reach the end of primary school having learnt the basics in reading and mathematics.

Global learning crisis

According to the report, a global learning crisis is costing $129 billion a year. Ten per cent of global spending on primary education is lost on poor quality education that is failing to ensure that children learn. This situation leave one in four people in poor countries unable to read.

The Report concludes that good teachers are the key to improvement and calls on governments to give the best teachers to those who need them most.

Ensuring an equal quality education for all makes economic sense. It can generate huge economic rewards, increasing a country's gross domestic product per capita by 23 per cent over 40 years.

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