Today's news, tomorrow's lesson - 6 February - A quarter of children in sub-Saharan Africa do not get even basic schooling

Nearly a quarter of sub-Saharan African children still do not have access to the most basic schooling, despite efforts over the past decade by world leaders to make sure that all children receive at least some education.


A quarter of children in sub-Saharan Africa do not get even basic schooling

Today's news, tomorrow's lesson - 6 February


By William Stewart

Nearly a quarter of sub-Saharan African children still do not have access to the most basic schooling, despite efforts over the past decade by world leaders to make sure that all children receive at least some education.

Millennium Development Goals – eight targets designed to eradicate major global problems such as poverty – were established in 2000. The aim was for countries around the globe to achieve them by 2015, but they have so far had only limited success. Perhaps most disappointing has been the lack of progress in education.

Last year in its most recent progress report, the United Nations admitted that while countries with the toughest challenges had made “large strides” in improving access to education, progress on primary school enrolment had actually slowed since 2004.

Sub-Saharan Africa, where the problem is most acute, is a case in point. Between 1999 and 2004, the proportion of primary-aged children in the region enrolled at school climbed from 58 per cent to 68 per cent. But nearly a quarter – 24 per cent – of such children were still without a school place in 2010.

Targets aimed at “eradicating extreme poverty and hunger” have been more successful, owing largely to economic growth in recent years in China and India.

This week, a UN meeting co-chaired by British Prime Minister David Cameron gathered in Liberia, West Africa, to begin developing a new set of global development goals to come into force from 2015.

On education, calls are being made for a wider set of targets. A committee of British Members of Parliament (MPs) wants new targets covering primary enrolment, primary completion, secondary education and the quality of schooling.

Secondary pupils in the UK can have their own say by taking part in a competition launched this week. Winning schools will get the opportunity to present their proposals for new development goals to an expert panel of ministers, MPs, government officials and other experts at the Department for International Development in London.

For details on the Shape the Future competition, go to globaldimension.org.uk/news/item/16674



Questions for your class


  • Why do you think education is so important?
  • Why might some children in sub-Saharan Africa not be able to go to school? What could we do to help change this?
  • Do you think there should be global targets for advancing education and development in poorer countries? Why?
  • What would you add to the new list of global development goals? How would you persuade governments around the world to make it happen?

Related resources


Millennium Development Goals

  • Find out about the original Millennium Development Goals and the lives of children in Afghanistan, Egypt, Ethiopia, Honduras and Zambia with this resource from TES partner Christian Aid.

Sharing common goals

  • What is important to us all? If we share common goals, how can we help each other to reach them? Explore these questions and more with this SchoolsLinkingNetwork activity.

United Nations

  • Examine the role of the United Nations using this PowerPoint-based resource from Godfreyd87.

Africa

  • Uncover the diversity and complexity of life in Africa with these excellent lesson plans from mwalimu3.


Further news resources


First News front page

  • Help your pupils understand the features of the front page of a newspaper.

Write all about it

  • Get students creating their own news report with this step-by-step guide.

What is the News?

  • A sociological and media perspective on what makes an event 'newsworthy'.

On the box

  • Help pupils to write their own TV news broadcast with this handy PowerPoint.

Structuring stories

  • A scheme of work to help students structure news stories.

In the news this week


Members of the British Parliament have been debating whether to allow same-sex marriages in England and Wales.

It's official. The skeleton under a car park in Leicester, England, is indeed that of Richard III, the last Plantagenet king of England.

The world’s most famous footballer David Beckham has grabbed the headlines once again by announcing that he is to give up his wages paid by his new club to a French children’s charity.

Mystery of homing pigeons’ ‘Bermuda triangle’ may have been solved



In the news archive index