The World Bank warns in its World Development report for 2018 that millions of young students in low and middle-income countries face the prospect of lost opportunity and lower wages in later life because their primary and secondary schools are failing to educate them to succeed in life thereby, warning of ‘a learning crisis’ in global education.
The report outlines that learning is not just a wasted development opportunity, but also a great injustice to children and young people worldwide.
It argues that without learning, education will fail to deliver on its promise to eliminate extreme poverty and create shared opportunity and prosperity for all, noting that even after several years in school, millions of children cannot read, write or do basic math.
According to the report, learning crisis is widening social gaps instead of narrowing them, with young students who are already disadvantaged by poverty, conflict, gender or disability reach young adulthood without even the most basic life skills.
World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim says: “This learning crisis is a moral and economic crisis. When delivered well, education promises young people employment, better earnings, good health, and a life without poverty. For communities, education spurs innovation, strengthens institutions, and fosters social cohesion. But these benefits depend on learning, and schooling without learning is a wasted opportunity. More than that, it’s a great injustice: the children whom societies fail the most are the ones who are most in need of a good education to succeed in life.”
The report recommends concrete policy steps to help developing countries resolve this dire learning crisis in the areas of stronger learning assessments, using evidence of what works and what doesn’t to guide education decision-making; and mobilizing a strong social movement to push for education changes that champion ‘learning for all.’
It also discloses that three-quarters of third grade students in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda are unable to read a sentence such as “The name of the dog is Puppy” in English or Kiswahili.