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African Union Journal : girls education, a major tool for development

Education is one of the essential components of sustainable development. It can be considered as « the action of developing a set of knowledge and moral, physical, intellectual and scientific values. On the African continent, unlike the education of boys, that of girls is not fully guaranteed. 

On the African continent, men and women are not equal when it comes to education. For example, in 2008, the adult literacy rate in sub-Saharan Africa was 71.2% for men and only 53.3% for women. Whereas, sustainable development is so dependent on a well-trained female population.

School opens your mind, school opens a lot of doors, and school opens to a lot of opportunities. In this 21st century, for a person who is not educated, especially a woman, makes it difficult  for them to be fulfilled and to bring a stone to the development of the country to which they belong.

Judith Traoré, Journalist Burkina Faso

41% of the African population is under 15 years old. Here, it is difficult to make significant investments in education, the share of GDP devoted to education being minimal and struggling to increase. Despite the hopes raised by the Jomtien Conference in 1990, followed by the Dakar forum in 2000, the 2002 Education for All goals aimed at increasing literacy levels by 50% as well as gender equity in education by 2015, have not yet been achieved.

It is often said that if we educate a woman, we educate a girl, we educate a whole family. Because a girl, who has become a future mother who has gone to school, will also bring her daughter there in the next generation.

Rita Bissoonauth, Head of mission AU/CIEFFA

Economic efficiency can only be optimal when access to all spheres of society is the same for both men and women. In Africa, if women did not spend so much time fetching water during the day, that is about three hours a day, there would be, according to studies on Women’s education and development in sub-Saharan Africa, thousands hours of work saved per year, where they could, for example, carry out a remunerated activity.

Budgets must be voted according to  gender-sensitivity. We must indeed encourage more women to enter the teaching professions.We must not only find female teachers at preschool or school level, but we should equally find them at secondary school, at university level and they should equally be given the opportunity to teach subjects generally reserved for men.

Simone Yankey-Ouattarra, Policy Officer – AU/CIEFFA

Currently, the majority of international reports show that Africa is making enormous progress in giving her population quality education. The average literacy rate in sub-Saharan Africa has almost tripled in percentage over the past four decades, rising from 23% in 1970 to 65% today, according to figures from the United Nations Development Program in 2010.


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