Reports says Poor Quality Education Costing Billions Every Year

    19 February, 2014


    From VOA Learning English, this is the Education Report.

    Recently, there have been efforts to make sure children in Africa get a good strong education. But a new report says governments are losing about $129 billion every year on poor quality education. As a result, about one in four students in poor countries cannot read a complete sentence, that represents about 175 million young people.

    The report comes from UNESCO - the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. It says poor teacher training and spending cuts are just two of the reasons for underperforming school systems.

    Reports says Poor Quality Education Costing Billions Every Year
    An instructor teaches students in Lodwar, Turkana, Kenya. He supplements his teachers salary with a small shop managed by him and his wife. (K. Prinsloo/ ARETE/UNESCO)

    Pauline Rose, an education specialist directed the report. She says more teachers are needed across Africa, especially in countries south of the Saharan desert. She says the area would need about 225,000 additional teachers a year to guarantee a primary school education for all boys and girls by 2015.

    Miss Rose says governments like to save money by using contract teachers. These educators are not government employees but work under a special agreement. Contract teachers can be easily dismissed if found to be underperforming. They also earn far less money than teachers working for the government. Contract teachers represent more than half of the teaching work force in many West African countries.

    Pauline Rose says teachers need to have a strong desire to help children learn. She says they should want to be in the classroom instead of doing other jobs. In recent years, financial support for education has gone down or stayed the same in many countries.

    The UNESCO report says governments will need to increase spending on education. Miss Rose says governments can do better on collecting taxes and making sure everyone pays their fair share of taxes. She says governments could also offer good housing to make sure impoverished areas have enough teachers.

    The report says South Africa gives six times more money to students in areas with low education levels and high unemployment. Malawi is creating teacher colleges to train new candidates for teaching positions in skills for rural areas. And Ethiopia is urging mentors and supervisors to help support teaching candidates.

    And that's the Education Report from VOA Learning English, I'm Mario Ritter.