Skip to main content

Cookies and Privacy

We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. To find out more, read our updated Cookie policy, Privacy policy and Terms & Conditions

women's education Brent Stirton/Getty Images

Education for Fragile States

Although the number of children enrolled in primary school in Africa increased from 60 million in 2000 to some 250 million today, school quality remains uneven. The challenge now is to ensure that all children, including those who are in school – at all grade levels – are learning what they need to thrive.

WASHINGTON, DC – This week, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will release its annual Goalkeepers report card assessing progress toward the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Among the expected findings is a prediction that by 2050, nearly 90% of global poverty will be concentrated in Sub-Saharan Africa, and two-thirds of the world’s poorest people will live in just ten countries.

The ability to identify human-development hotspots – what we call “severely off-track countries” (SOTCs) – should, in theory, make it easier to apply solutions. Unfortunately, some aid agencies tend to avoid fragile states out of fear that their resources will be wasted. Currently, less than a quarter of OECD countries’ programmable aid is allocated to SOTCs.

But the perception that fragility presages failure is misplaced. With adequate planning, it is possible to implement projects that improve lives in even the riskiest places. Best of all, we know where to start: by investing more in human capital, and especially in education.

We hope you're enjoying Project Syndicate.

To continue reading, subscribe now.

Subscribe

Get unlimited access to PS premium content, including in-depth commentaries, book reviews, exclusive interviews, On Point, the Big Picture, the PS Archive, and our annual year-ahead magazine.

Help make our reporting on global health and development issues stronger by answering a short survey.

Take Survey

https://prosyn.org/VuyHYXc;
  1. op_campanella7_Aurelien MeunierGetty Images_billgatesrichardbransonthumbsup Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images

    Abolish the Billionaires?

    Edoardo Campanella

    Even many of the wealthiest Americans would agree that the United States needs to overhaul its tax policies to restore a sense of social justice. But, notes Edoardo Campanella, Future of the World Fellow at IE University's Center for the Governance of Change, such reforms would not be enough to restart the engines of social mobility and promote greater equality of opportunity.

    16