Report: Developing worlds 100 years behind in education

The Brookings Institution reports that education quality and levels in developing countries are approximately 100 years behind developed countries. This global gap in education shows that in the world’s poorest nations, the average levels of attainment are at levels achieved in developed countries in the early 20th century.

The good news is that in the past 50 years, the belief that schooling is a necessity has spread across the globe (thanks in part to the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights) and now 90 percent of primay school-aged children are enrolled.

Enrolling and progressing are very different things though, as we know just looking at American schools. Getting children into a classroom and seated at a desk is just the start. When it comes to what is actually being learned in these developing nations, the gap is wide, to put it mildly. According to the Brookings Institute, at the current rate of educational attainment, it will take 1.6 billion people more than 85 years to catch up to the current educational level in developed countries.

So then the question becomes: What will this gap look like in another 85 years? How can we successfully narrow it?

Educational attainment is not just a manifestation of what happens in the classrooms, of course. It is much more involved than that. Addressing issues like eradicating child hunger, providing clean water, and expanding access to healthcare worldwide will all help educational levels rise, along with quality of life. Developed countries should care about these issues not just because they are issues of humanity, but because they all impact the global economy too.

Where do you expect the global education gap will rest in another 50 years? 85 years? 100+ years?


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