Just one third of countries have achieved all of the measurable Education for All (EFA) goals set in 2000. None achieved them in sub-Saharan Africa; only seven countries in the region attained even the most watched goal of universal primary enrolment. Sixteen of the 20 lowest ranked countries in progress towards 'Education for All' are in sub-Saharan Africa.
The 2015 EFA Global Monitoring Report (GMR) found that the number of children enrolled in primary school in sub-Saharan Africa increased by 75 percent to 144 million in 2012. However, 30 million children remain out of school in the region. Corruption, conflict, climate change and poverty are factors that hampered progress in many countries.
Nigeria, for example, now has more children out of school than when the global goals were set. Inefficient public spending saw the loss of US$21 million of education funding leaving a shortfall of 220,000 primary school teachers.
Niger not only failed to reach any of the goals, but also has growing inequality, leaving the poorest far less likely to get free education than they were in 2000.
South Africa and Cape Verde had both achieved Universal Primary Education in 1999, but have since moved away from the goal. Chad ranks at the bottom of the Education Development Index with less than 70 percent of children enrolled in primary school.
Some countries have made remarkable progress since 2000. Progress is especially notable among those who focused on helping the poorest with initiatives, including abolishing school fees, providing school uniforms, meals and books. Burundi, the Central African Republic, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Sierra Leone and Tanzania more than halved the percentage of children who had never been to school. South Africa reduced its adult illiteracy rates by two-thirds. Equatorial Guinea had fewer than four girls to boys in primary school in 2000, but has now achieved gender parity. Ghana, for example, had pre-primary enrolment rates of only 47 percent in 1999, but now provides universal access at that level.
As long as education is something to be bought and sold, it can’t be as fulfilling as it should be. If society was owned and run by the community as a whole, then we could have free access to the kinds of education we want.
The World Socialist Movement aims for a world without national borders. Countries, as the boundaries of different states, represent the ruling class who own the land and resources there. This way of dividing up the world doesn’t benefit the vast majority of us, who have very little influence in how the country we happen to live in is run. In a socialist society, people could move freely anywhere, without being dictated to by economic and political pressures. The artificial divisions between us which come with our nationality would no longer apply. If the world was owned in common, then we would live and work co-operatively for the benefit of everyone.
The World Socialist Movement aims for a world where all work is voluntary and co-operative, without employers or employed. We would have the freedom to train and work in whichever career we wanted. If society’s infrastructure was owned in common, rather than by a minority, we could run it to benefit everyone. We could work sustainably with all the resources we need, without the market system holding us back. The reasons for the stress and frustration of being employed – and unemployed – won’t exist.
The World Socialist Movement aims for a comprehensive health service which has all the trained staff and resources it needs. The only way this could happen is if it was part of a society where all resources are owned and democratically run by the community as a whole. Then, we could work directly to benefit ourselves and others. This health service, along with all other services and goods, would be free for anyone to access.
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