Het Afrikaanse onderwijs moet op de schop

DUBAI – Secretaris-generaal Ban Ki-moon van de Verenigde Naties heeft onderwijs de 'allerbeste investering' genoemd die landen kunnen doen om “welvarende, gezonde en eerlijke samenlevingen” op te bouwen. Nergens is dit inzicht relevanter dan in Afrika, waar grootschalige investeringen in onderwijs de afgelopen jaren tot aanzienlijke vooruitgang hebben geleid op het gebied van de alfabetisering, het schoolbezoek en de doorstroom naar de universiteit. Maar het continent heeft nog een lange weg te gaan.

Volgens UNICEF woont het ten zuiden van de Sahara gelegen deel van Afrika ruim de helft van de 58 miljoen kinderen in de hele wereld die niet naar school gaan, met name meisjes en jonge vrouwen. Ruim één op de vijf Afrikanen in de leeftijdscategorie van 15 tot 24 is werkloos, slechts een derde heeft de basisschool doorlopen, en ondanks enige vooruitgang blijft het percentage dat hoger onderwijs heeft gevolgd laag.

Het feit dat veel sociale indicatoren stagneren of zelfs een neergang vertonen is bijzonder teleurstellend, gezien het feit dat Afrika veel van 's werelds snelst groeiende economieën herbergt. Volgens een recent rapport van de Verenigde Naties is het aantal Afrikanen dat in extreme armoede leeft tussen 1990 en 2010 met bijna 40% gestegen, naar 414 miljoen mensen. Vier van de vijf sterfgevallen van kinderen onder de vijf doen zich voor in Afrika.

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