Gender inequality rife throughout Africa

The largest gender gaps are observed in West and Central Africa, where 79 girls are enrolled in secondary school for every 100 boys.

Although, African leaders declared that this year was “the African youth decade” and launched a number of youth employment strategies to help the increasing unemployment figures, its still on the rise. There is no doubt that more needs to be done to give the youth the educational resources they need to thrive, but as the region continues to increase its military spending, they are cutting education which is having a devastating effect on rural areas.

The rural poverty across the continent is something that is constantly spoken about, so it is not surprising when it is stated that the rural children are at a disadvantage learning only key skills needed for manual labour work. Many parents who send their children to school see this as a way to climb out of poverty, this would be the case if the money is continuously invested, and many of the African countries weren’t exploited by their leaders.

Teachers must be paid a fair salary, and students need up to date resources.

Many of the children who are sent to school still severely lack in the skills necessary for employment. A large focus has been placed on urban areas by ensuring new infrastructure and leisure facilities are built, which is all well for tourism but, does not ensure youth are given the skills they need to contribute to the economy of the region.

To address this education crisis, African governments must direct more resources towards rural areas by implementing policies that give the youth of the region the opportunity to succeed.
Surely, the most urgent priorities for the government besides taking care of the welfare of its citizens should be the provision of schooling for its children. Many were perplexed on the announcement back in 2012 that Western Cape government was considering closing 27 schools in the province but, since then there have been many additional schools built providing the Western Cape with some of the largest campuses in the southern hemisphere.

In South Africa public spending on education is 6.4% of GDP; the average share in EU countries is 4.8%. However the issue that continues to affect school children is not the amount spent on schools, but the quality of the teaching. This has massively affected the results of science and mathematics tests, ranking South Africa 74th out of 75th in the league tables.

A Professor at the Graduate School of Education, University of Bristol said: “The key message is that a first step to improving education quality and equity in rural areas is through improving monitoring and evaluation systems. The evidence indicates that providing value added data to policymakers and practitioners will improve evaluation processes at all levels of the education system – national, regional, county, school, class and learner”

Another way in which the education system can be ‘enhanced’ is employee education, many children from poor and underdeveloped regions cannot afford education fees and many of them end up giving up school in order to take care of their families or undergo child labour, providing them with skill based subjects and teaching them the fundamentals of surviving in the tough industries whether its crafts, dairy, carpentry etc. This will allow them to have a better and safe employment option rather than core labour.

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