Shame @ 50: Nigeria Has World’s Worst School Enrolment

Students of a public school in Lagos.

UNESCO says 100million women can't read

• Students of a public school in Lagos.

The Global Campaign for Education, GCE, has released a scathing report about Nigeria’s  education, saying the country has the worst enrolment in the world.

The report, coming at a time Nigeria is marking its 50th anniversary with glee, was  released yesterday on the sidelines of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals  summit.

According to the report, Nigeria has more children out of education than any country in  the world; with a total of 8.2 million children of school age out of school.

“This is made all the more appalling by the fact that Nigeria is far from poor, by  African standards. On paper at least it is among the continent’s richest countries, the  world’s sixth largest producer of crude oil.”

GCE, which was backed by aid groups such as Oxfam, Save The Children and Action Aid, in  making the report, said that “decades of failure to invest in education have left the  basic school system hardly functioning” in Nigeria.

Somalia, stricken by more than two decades of civil war, has been declared the world’s  worst place to go to school, in the GCE report.

The battle for Mogadishu becomes more bitter by the day and aid agencies in operating in  the east African country accuse Somali war lords of forcibly enlisting children into  their militias.

“Ongoing conflict, civil unrest and fragility have had a catastrophic effect on  education, with the most recent data estimating that only 10 percent of children are  enrolled in primary school,” said the GCE.

Somalia was one of four countries where more than 70 percent of the population is  illiterate, GCE said.

It came bottom of a table of the world’s 60 poorest countries, just behind Eritrea,  Haiti, Comoros, Ethiopia, Chad and Burkina Faso.

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“The ‘School Report’ table findings paint a stark picture of the lives of children from  around 60 of the poorest countries, demonstrating that a dramatic upscaling of effort is  needed in order to give the next generation better prospects than their parents,” said  the report.

“A country like Chad, languishing close to the bottom of our table, has shocking  indicators across the board: just 14 percent of its population go to school for five  years, child labor and early marriage are rife, and two-thirds of adults cannot read or  write.”

Adult illiteracy remains “a major stain” on efforts to end poverty with 759 million  adults, the majority of them women, unable to read and write, said the campaign.

Half of the illiterate adults in the world live in South Asia, particularly in  Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh. “Illiterate adults and their families struggle  without even the most basic of skills to navigate life, access healthcare for their  families and enter the labour market,” said the report.

Haiti has always had a poor education record and was bottom of the rankings in 2008, with  just half of children attending primary schools. The earthquake in January has made  education in the impoverished state even more desperate, with 80 percent of schools  destroyed.

GCE said that fewer than 20 percent of Afghan women are literate and barely any girls in  rural areas were allowed to go to school.

The campaign criticised wealthy countries for failing to provide promised funds for  education.

The report also gave marks to donor countries for their contribution to the financing  needed for universal education, based on their respective wealth. Norway came top and the  United States bottom.

“The miserly performance of the G8 nations plays a major part in holding back progress —  some 87 percent of the gap is attributable to their failure to pay up,” said the report.

Somalia named the worst place to go to school

A boy living in the town of Wisil holds on to his school book as he walks past a camel  market in August

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