As the 2015 deadline for the Millennium Development Goals draws near, it is readily apparent that progress has been made in increasing the number of children enrolled in primary education. But while enrollment rates have soared, the quality of education has deteriorated. In a rush to meet the second Millennium Development Goal of achieving universal basic education, nations have promoted free and compulsory education but cannot keep up with the necessary expansions of education facilities. The result? Overcrowded classrooms, insufficient space, facilities and materials in poor condition due to overuse.
Though most of the African continent is on track to meet its target of universal primary education—17 countries already have net enrollment rations above 90 percent, while
São Tomé and ,
Príncipe, Tanzania Togo, and Tunisia
have met or exceeded the target of 95% enrollment—quality remains a critical
An article published in the Daily Trust speaks of one school in
where 90 pupils are crowded into a classroom built for 30 and teachers, who
cite lack of training, non-upgrade of academic qualifications, and poor
remuneration for low teaching standards, are far too few.
The poor quality of education is evidenced in declining exam scores; recent pass rates for
Senior School Certificate Examinations (SSCE) are as low as 39%. Low achievement on exams is not specific to Nigeria,
nor to the African continent, but efforts to improve education quality must be
addressed through country-specific models that lay out curricular and
pedagogical reforms, as well as state-backed training for teachers. While
reaching the goal of universal primary education is a step in the right
direction, it is not sufficient to ensure that the education provided is one of
quality and relevance.
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