Accra —The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, UNESCO, says the millennium pledge made by international leaders that all children would have a primary education by 2015 is going to be ‘missed by a large margin’. This is as a result of lack of funds and a general lack of interest in education.
These findings are contained in the 2012 Education for All (EFA) UNESCO Global Monitoring Report (GMR), an annual publication that measures progress towards EFA goals.
The Report reveals that in Ghana, quality primary education and availability of entrepreneur skills are fundamental to achieving the goal of putting education to work, and Ghana, like many countries, need to plan for skills development and make it accessible to most disadvantaged people. “Devising means of linking the curriculum to local realities and including extracurricular practical exercises in the learning environment is vital to improving critical thinking and building a good understanding of the potential that the communities where pupils live in can offer” says Mr. Dos Santos, Acting Director, UNESCO Cluster office in Accra.
According to the Report, the number of years of school necessary to guarantee a mastery of basic literacy skills varies from country to country. The Report thus brings to light the false assumption that it takes four or five years of school for children to use reading, writing and calculation with ease, noting that far more children than expected in low and lower middle income countries are completing primary school without becoming literate. The Report reveals that in Ghana, for instance, over half of women and over one-third of men aged 15 to 29 who had completed six years of school could not read a sentence at all in 2008. A further 28% of the young women and 33% of the young men could only read part of a sentence.
The Report found that traditional apprenticeship is very cost effective and immediately relevant and thus calls on governments to target young urban people with foundation skills and support them with training in transferable and technical skills and provide access to other forms of support, including the assets required to set up a business, enabling them to apply their newly acquired skills in order to increase the impact of entrepreneurship. It further states that resources for the teaching of technical and vocational subjects must also be evenly distributed in terms of quality and accessibility in both rural and urban areas. In Ghana for instance, the reports notes, only 11% of the poorest quintile of young people had been through an apprenticeship as opposed to 47% of the wealthiest. Furthermore, students in rural areas end up with lower quality teaching in technical and vocational subjects, as resources are not distributed equally.
The private sector can also play a crucial role in all of this by influencing policy makers to make the curriculum more relevant for students whilst the Government matches skills supplied to demand.
The 2012 EFA Global Monitoring Report, entitled “Youth and Skills: Putting Education to Work” will be launched in Accra on Wednesday, November 14, 2012. It is hosted by UNESCO, the Ministry of Education, and the Department for International Development (DFID).
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