Vietnam Time

9/29/2017 1:40:05 PM

60% kids' reading and mathematics level lower than minimum proficiency

(VNF) - According to new estimates from the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS), more than 617 million children and adolescents are not achieving minimum proficiency levels (MPLs) in reading and mathematics.

This crisis will affect about 202 million children and adolescents, including 138 million of primary school age and 63 million of lower secondary school age. (source: BBC)

This is the equivalent of three times the population of Brazil being unable to read or undertake basic mathematics with proficiency. The new data signal a tremendous waste of human potential that could threaten progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

(The fourth SDG demands an inclusive and equitable quality education and the promotion of “lifelong learning opportunities for all”.)

In particular, Target 4.1 demands that all children complete primary and secondary education of sufficient quality to ensure that they have“relevant and effective learning outcomes”.

However, six out of ten children and adolescents in the world are not achieving minimum proficiency levels in reading and mathematics.

Statistical report from UNESCO shows that the total – 617 million, including over 387 million children of primary school age (age 6 - 11) and 230 million adolescents of lower secondary school age (age 12-14).

This means that more than one-half – 56% – of all children won’t be able to read or handle mathematics with proficiency by the time they are of age to complete primary education. The proportion is even higher for adolescents, with 61% unable to achieve minimum proficiency levels when they should be completing lower secondary school.

More than 85% of children in sub-Saharan Africa are not learning the minimum.

Despite years of steady growth in enrolment rates, the education situation in sub-Saharan Africa continues to threaten the future of entire generations. New UIS data show that 88% of all children and adolescents will not be able to read proficiently by the time they are of age to complete primary and lower secondary education.

If current trends continue, this crisis will affect about 202 million children and adolescents, including 138 million of primary school age and 63 million of lower secondary school age.

Across the region, girls of primary school age face the greatest disadvantage. More than 70 million girls – or 90% – will not meet minimum proficiency levels in reading by the time they are of age to complete primary education.

 This is the case for 85% of boys.

Meanwhile, Central and Southern Asia has the second-highest rate of children and adolescents not learning. Across the region, 81% of children and adolescents (241 million) will not meet minimum proficiency levels in reading by the time they are of age to complete primary and lower secondary education.

The total number includes 152 million children of primary school age and almost 89 million adolescents of lower secondary school age.

Boys of both age groups face greater challenges to read than girls in Central and Southern Asia.

In total, almost 132 million boys of primary and lower secondary school age (84% of the male population) will not read proficiently. In contrast, the rate is 77% for girls (108 million).

In Western Asia and Northern Africa, 57% – or 46 million – children and adolescents will not achieve minimum proficiency levels in reading if current trends continue. This includes 28 million children of primary school age and 17 million adolescents of lower secondary school age.

In Latin America and the Caribbean, the total rate of children and adolescents not reading proficiently is 36%. The situation is more extreme for adolescents, with more than one-half (53% or 19 million) unable to meet minimum proficiency levels by the time they should be completing lower secondary school. This is the case for 26% of primary school-age children.

In Eastern and South-Eastern Asia, almost one-third or 78 million children and adolescents will not read proficiently if current trends continue.

13 tỷ đồng để nâng cao chất lượng chăm sóc, giáo dục trẻ em dân tộc thiểu số - Ảnh 1

In Eastern and South-Eastern Asia, almost one-third or 78 million children and adolescents will not read proficiently if current trends continue. (source: Dan Sinh news)

The rates for primary and lower secondary school ages are similar in comparison to other regions, at 29% and 34% respectively.

In contrast, the learning situation is significantly better in Northern America and Europe as well as Oceania, although improvements are needed, especially among lower secondary school-age populations.

Across almost all regions, the rates of adolescents not learning are higher than those for children.

However, the opposite is true for total numbers, because they are calculated for a smaller age cohort (377 million adolescents versus 694 million children of primary school age).

Eight out of ten adolescents not learning live in three regions: sub-Saharan Africa (63 million), Central Asia and Southern Asia (89 million) and Eastern and South-Eastern Asia (30 million). Sub-Saharan Africa is the region with the highest rate of adolescents not learning (89%), followed by Central Asia and Southern Asia (80%) and Western Asia and Northern Africa (64%).

UIS data show that two-thirds (68%) of these children – or 262 million out of 387 million – are in school and will reach the last grade of primary but will not achieving minimum proficiency levels in reading.

These findings show the extent to which education systems around the world are failing to provide a quality education and decent classroom conditions in which children can learn.

Another 78 million (20%) are in school but are not expected to reach the last grade of primary. Unfortunately, according to UIS data, 60% of the dropout happens in the first three grades of the school cycle, leaving many children without basic skills. While there are many reasons for high dropout rates, the data underscore the need to improve education policies by tailoring programmes to meet the needs of different types of students, especially those living in poverty.

The benefits of education must outweigh the opportunity costs for students and their households, UNESCO says.

It is not surprising to find that 40 million children (10% of the total) unable to read proficiently have either left school and will not re-enrol or have never been in school and will probably never start. If current trends continue, they will remain permanently excluded from education./.

  ( VNF )
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