Global Initiative on Out-of-School Children: Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Report
Governments in the Eastern and Southern Africa region have made tremendous efforts in recent years towards the Millennium Development and Education For All Goals. This has led to a rapid expansion in primary and secondary school enrolment – with millions more children today in school – and in closing gender gaps. It is great progress, it is meaningful progress, and yet it is partial progress.
Unfortunately, most countries in the region are unlikely to achieve Millennium Development Goal 2 on Universal Primary Education. This is due to three key reasons:
First, recent increases in primary school enrolments have slowed and are plateauing, leaving the most marginalised and vulnerable children still out of school. Those national policies and strategies which have been successful in raising numbers will not be sufficient to address the needs of the most excluded children. Second, although primary school enrolment has rapidly increased, there have not been enough classrooms, nor textbooks, nor qualified teachers. With overcrowded classrooms, and with insufficient materials and teachers, large numbers of children repeat grades, and drop out from school without mastering the basics. Third, there is an inadequacy of reliable data and analysis on those children who are not in school, and those children who are in school but learning little. Without such accurate and disaggregated data and analysis, policymakers and education practitioners have limitations in developing policies and programmes to support education for disadvantaged and marginalized children.
This report provides a critical analysis of the education system at all levels, in terms of statistics on school participation, as well as enabling factors such as policy, planning and implementation. The report demonstrates the importance of addressing income poverty, as well as issues of location and gender. It highlights the importance of culture and language, issues of security and environment. And it underlines the need for greater analysis and more evidence-informed planning in order to respond to those children who remain excluded from education.