Poor Countries Face Education Crisis, Report Says

Jason Staziuso, Cybercast News Service, September 20, 2010

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The report [released by the Global Campaign for Education]–“Back to School?”–said poor countries are “teetering on the brink of an education crisis.”

Of the five countries at the bottom of the list, four are in Africa, and three of those are in East Africa. The ranking rated Somalia, Eritrea, Haiti, Comoros and Ethiopia as the bottom five based on access to basic education, teacher-student ratio, and educational provisions for girls.

Even Kenya, considered successful compared to its East African neighbors, had to delay free education to 9.7 million children over the last year due to budgetary constraints, the report said.

The report was produced by Education International, Plan International, Oxfam, Save the Children and VSO.

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{snip} The U.N. says the number of children not in school has dropped from 106 million in 1999 to 69 million in 2008.

Sub-Saharan Africa has seen its classrooms fill over the last decade, though the continent still accounts for almost half of the total of unenrolled children. In 1999, 58 percent of African children were enrolled in primary school. By 2008 the figure was 76 percent.

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UNICEF said its research shows that spending $1 million helping children age 5 and younger in the most remote and disadvantaged areas would prevent 60 percent more deaths then the current approach, what it called “a stunningly higher return on investment.”

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