USAID Provides 231 Million for Girls Education in 5 Countries

    08 October, 2014


    From VOA Learning English, this is the Education Report.

    The Unite States government recently launched a $231 million education effort. The Let Girls Learn program is designed to advance public education for girls worldwide. The program will focus on five countries in Africa, South Asia, Latin America and the Middle East.

    The United States Agency for International Development(USAID), will finance programs for primary and secondary schools. Primary schools serve the younger students and secondary schools serve the older students. The money will go to Afghanistan, Jordan, Guatemala, South Sudan and Nigeria.

    62 million girls around the world do not go to school. USAID says millions more are fighting to stay in school. Many face danger just for trying to get an education.

    Christie Vilsack serves as a USAID senior advisor for international education. She says it is important for young women to learn about education and be encouraged to attend school.

    "For them to be motivated by Malala, for them to be motivated by the kidnapping of the girls in Nigeria ... that means we have a whole new group of people that we can educate," said Christie Vilsack.

    Teenage and education activist Malala Yousafzai was shot on a school bus in Pakistan two years ago. She was attacked because of her campaign against Taliban efforts to deny education for girls. Many female students in Pakistan risk their lives everyday to go to classes.

    Last April, the Islamist militant group Boko Haram kidnapped hundreds of school girls. The group seized the girls because they went to school. In the Hausa language, Boko Haram means "Western education is a sin".

    Cyrus Kawalya is a member of a US program for young African leaders called the Mandela Washington Fellowship. He says Education helps open the mind, and provide possibilities that a person would not have otherwise.

    "Without education you cannot open up your mind, then what would you do," Kawalya explains.

    Christie Vilsack of USAID said part of Let Girls learn resources would be used to train high quality teachers. Ms Vilsack says USAID uses a new system to measure student progress. She said she saw children in Pakistan taking a 10 minute test under the system. She said the test very quickly shows ability to recognize letters and it shows if the students can name and pronounce, or speak the sound of the letters.

    Ms Vilsack said USAID does not want students to just memorize information at school. She said the agency is training teachers to make sure students understand what they study.

    And that's the VOA Learning English Education Report. I'm Jeri Watson.