The Education Crisis in Developing Countries

there are a number of developing countries who really have increased their allocation to education especially over the last 10 years and and and are really at the forefront in the world of supplying quite a bit of resources to education and that isn't even sufficient frankly for all the for reaching all their kids this is at Brookings a weekly in-depth look at issues behind the news this week education in developing countries a global priority there's a learning crisis in developing countries where children are either poorly educated or denied an education altogether some countries invest more in their Armed Forces than they do in their classrooms even though additional schooling can lead to higher incomes benefiting the child and the overall economy education is a fundamental human right and is the best tool for tackling poverty and other issues notes senior fellow Rebecca Winthrop Rebecca you write that there is a learning crisis that is affecting the developing world and this crisis you say has three distinct dimensions if we look at what are the actual problems of the learning crisis and this is really across the developing world a lot of kids are getting into school but there is still a problem of a number of very marginalized groups who are not and so they're not there's groups who are still not getting learning opportunities or opportunities to learn and these by and large are kids who live in conflict countries half of the kids who are out of school in the world today live in countries affected by armed conflict and war and violence and these are kids who are our rural who are very poor and oftentimes our girls all right so while many children are in school the education they're getting is subpar and you say this is especially evident in their reading skills hundreds of millions of kids in school in the developing world today about estimates are that there's about 200 million children who are really struggling to even learn the most foundational skill which is to read for example the incredible data of shocking data showing that for example in Uganda the African country of Uganda kids who are at grade seven so they vet finished primary school they're in you know lower secondary school can barely read it a grade two level almost a quarter of kids in Uganda at grade seven can barely read it a grade two look this goes around the continent of Africa in Latin America in Asia so kids are not learning foundational skills and then the third dimension is that many of these children are not getting education that will prepare them for the jobs of today and tomorrow the third dimension of the learning crisis is really for those kids who who actually end end up being able to master foundational skills progress on to higher education such as secondary school they are not learning this relevant skills they need for their own lives and also for jobs and job opportunities they're being trained and in what really is a an old way of doing education that was more suited to a colonial era that trains government bureaucrats a few of them and in fact there's that's not where the job growth is the job growth is in private sector enterprise and you need critical thinking teamwork all sorts of transferable skills that they're not acquiring and what about educating girls in the developing world is there a barrier to this in some countries there's very high demand for education it's just that there's a range of pressures on the family and girls get the last straw so for example if families who are very very poor one coping mechanism that they have is to marry their girls off that gives them a little bit of resources that frees up some burdens that's a strategy that many families who are just desperately poor choose and it's frankly less for lack of interest I think oftentimes of families to offer all their children in education and more just a range of coping mechanisms that leave girls girls at the bottom and in the face of these findings there's still a great number of countries that spend more on their military than they do on their classroom developing countries face a huge number of challenges one of which you may expect and we hear a lot about which is resources there are some developing countries who don't spend nearly enough on education as they should who spend a great deal more on other things like the military and security and a range of other sectors and you know there's no hard and fast rule but we do see that if a country puts around four percent of its GDP towards education that those are the countries that are quite successful and so that's an important term and what about conflict countries where Wars can rage for decades nowhere else is it so imperative that the next generation who's going to be the future leaders of these countries gets a really solid base in good literacy numeracy critical thinking and life and labour skills because that really is the long-term sustainable path out of poverty and destitution for these countries which certainly exacerbates the political conflicts that go on so what's the benefit here for the u.s. how does educating children in the developing world directly impact the USA there's lots of good evidence to show that folks in the developing world the more educated those populations are the greater demand they have for American for example if you want to use the US as the example American goods and services more people buy iPods around the world etc etc so it actually is directly helpful for our own economy it's also very helpful to try to tackle some of the global challenges that we need everybody in the world to tackle and that includes preventing diseases that flow across borders that includes protecting our environment which knows no sort of artificial borders that we have on our maps it also includes things like security things like violent extremism have been shown to you know be harder to take root in countries where there's a great deal of opportunity education being one of those opportunities so what's the best course of action for addressing this learning crisis what countries need to do is take this idea of learning as the end goal rather than access as the end goal which a lot of countries have have been doing seriously and change the way they use their resources and invest in early childhood in gaining sort of foundational literacy numeracy skills and transitioning to relevant secondary education with relevant curriculum those things just with existing resources would make a big difference stay up-to-date with the latest research learn about Brookings events and search our directory of experts all from your mobile device to download your games for your Blackberry Android iPhone or iPad go to Brookings edu slash mobile

15 thoughts on “The Education Crisis in Developing Countries

  1. And it's also very funny that all people seem to talk about is that poor people need education and tetanus shots when in actual fact they need a lot more things like clean water and agriculture farming for food which I do not ever talk about which is a free giving way to any human from any country which year for taken away from them and strip them of their natural resources thank you for that westernised words

  2. Thank god that they haven't got education in those countries because most of your education is based on theories and bulshit anyway it doesn't help anybody to be honest speaking for my education background and most uni students who end up in McDonald's to pay off their student debt in order to have a good living for themselves and their family don't get anywhere but in debt for the rest of their life and actually don't know s*** because all of your theories in science things in history in mathematics are always changing because you have constantly been wrong so education doesn't help anybody thank god they don't have it because this will bull cow

  3. This is ironic – I don't believe the US should be commenting on a learning crisis. Here is a report released the year before this interview was posted.

  4. The US has a moral obligation to help the developing world due to it's history of oppression of Africans.

  5. How can they think of the benefit US can get when helping the developing world? and if they had no benefit… would they still work on those fields?

  6. Education drives engineering development. The world is becoming a more connected place and countries that embrace this technology and it's economic implications will strive on upwards.

    South Korea is a perfect example of this. In the 1960s south Korea was the poorest and most under educated country in the world. Today it is one of the most educated and affluent in the world and education was the key to this.

    There are no magic buttons but at least know which button to press.

  7. wow this video is such an over simplification of the issue as though education will always result in higher gdp and an assumption that increased economic success will result in people magically rising above the poverty line and breaking through the many traps.

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