Education & Empowerment 55
Lowering the Price of Schooling and Improving Girl’s Schooling The Challenge
We know that education can provide a pathway out of poverty. Without it, children are more likely to become criminals, abuse drugs and suffer from chronic illness. Hundreds of studies show a link between how long children spend in school and how much they earn as grown-ups.
A relatively large amount of money is spent each year in an effort to get more – and better – education to children in the developing world. A lot of this money could be better spent. Experience shows that merely building more schools is not the best approach. Indonesia doubled its number of schools in six years, leading only to a three percent rise in the amount of time spent at school. In much of the world, schools already exist where most children live. New ones can divert them from other schools.
Of about 112 million children born annually in developing countries, nearly one-quarter will not complete primary school. Although steady progress has been made over the past 50 years toward increasing education and literacy worldwide, we are still a considerable distance from the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goal that every child should be given at least a primary education by 2015.
Many attempts to increase the quality of education go wrong because there is still no agreement on what constitutes ‘quality’. What one study finds critically important proves unimportant or even detrimental in another.
Significant gender gaps in schooling enrollments persist in particular regions and at particular levels of education. This is especially true for parts of South Asia and poorer countries in sub-Saharan Africa.
A focus on girls’ schooling, as well as general schooling, is clearly justified by economic fundamentals. Vernon Smith. Guide to Giving
Copenhagen Consensus Center Guide to Giving