100mn women challenged by illiteracy, says UNESCO

By IAfrica
In Nigeria
Mar 9th, 2014

Published on March 10, 2014 by   ·   No Comments


The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, UNESCO, is showing serious concern that an estimated 100 million girls and young women in low and middle income countries cannot even read a single sentence.

Nigeria, as well as most African countries, falls into this group with a reported poverty rate that gets the majority of its estimated 170 million citizens living below $1 per day.

The international organisation said the report, developed by an independent team, but published by UNESCO, reveals serious gender imbalance in global education and that if nothing urgent is done by the affected countries, it could also prevent half of the 31 million girls, currently out of school, from ever enrolling.

Part of the main findings of the Gender Summary, which analysed data from the latest edition of UNESCO Education for All Global Monitoring Report, shows that despite some progress in 2011, only 60 percent of countries in the world had achieved parity in primary education and only 38 percent of countries had achieved parity in secondary education.

Among low income countries, just 20 percent have achieved gender parity at the primary level, 10 percent at the lower secondary level and eight percent at the upper secondary level, according to the report released to draw attention to women’s rights as the world celebrates World Women’s Day.

Of all affected countries, the report said girls living in the Arab states are at a greater disadvantage with a 60 percent share of females in the out-of-school population compared with 57 percent in South and West Asia and 54 percent in sub-Saharan Africa.

An analysis of the report clearly points out a projection that only 70 percent of countries would have achieved parity in primary education by 2015, and 56 percent would have achieved parity in lower secondary education.

UNESCO says 100million women can't read

UNESCO says 100million women can’t read

“Unless improvements are made, the poorest girls will achieve universal primary completion sixty years later than the richest boys. The new summary reiterates the need for progress in education to be more evenly spread between girls and boys if global education goals are to be achieved,” the report stresses.

In her verdict, Irina Bokova, Director General, UNESCO, declared: “it is simply intolerable that girls are being left behind. For poor girls, education is one of the most powerful routes to a better future, helping them escape from a vicious cycle of poverty.

“Governments must ensure that there is equal access to education to address this shocking imbalance.”

Already, the Education For All Global Monitoring Report 2013/2014 has noted that due to low quality education over the years, 175 million young people in low and middle income countries, 61 percent of whom are girls, are unable to read a single sentence. In South and West Asia, two out of three young people who cannot read are young women.

Emphasising the importance of investing in girls’ and women’s education, the report maintains that if all women had a primary and secondary education, child marriages and child mortality could fall by 49 percent and 64 percent respectively.

“With just primary education for all women, maternal deaths could be reduced by two-thirds. Educating women can help protect them from falling into poverty as well by helping them find work and reducing the gender wage gap,” the report explains while Pauline Rose of the EFA Global Monitoring Report urged governments to consider providing safe housing or financial benefits to encourage more female teachers to work in remote areas as encouragement or role models to young female pupils and students.

“Alternatively, recruiting locally can help ensure teacher candidates reflect the diversity of the children they are teaching,” she suggested.

Currently in Sub-Saharan Africa, female teachers make up less than 40 percent of the total teaching workforce in all countries at the upper secondary level

To curb this challenge, the Global Monitoring Report recommends that girls’ education must be at the forefront of new education goals after 2015 since many countries cannot even meet the Education For All goals by then.

It further makes a case for the recruitment of qualified teachers, especially women, saying they must be encouraged to assist in remote areas with curricula that must be inclusive.


Posted by on March 10, 2014, 12:13 am. Filed under Education, Lifestyle, News, World. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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