Nigeria, Chad, Pakistan, and Ethiopia are among countries that are way off target on the six key educational goals that 164 countries agreed to try to achieve between 2000 and 2015.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) gave this damning report on Thursday.
The report launched in Paris, New York, New Delhi and Santiago de Chile, indicated that Nigeria has the highest number of children out of school and one of the world’s worst education systems due to a combination of corruption, conflict and lack of investment.
In 2000, 164 countries agreed to try to achieve six key educational goals in the following 15 years, targets that complemented the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) they were also setting.
The key goals included enrolling all children in primary schools, halving adult illiteracy and ensuring that girls had equal access to schooling.
A report by the UNESCO said half the countries had failed to enroll all children in primary schools, three-quarters had not halved illiteracy, and more than half had not ended gender disparities at secondary school level.
While Nigeria, Niger, Chad, Pakistan, and Ethiopia were listed among those which are way off target on the six goals, nations such as Afghanistan, Nepal, Sierra Leone, Rwanda, Tanzania and India were lauded for their efforts.
During the launch of the Education for All (EFA) Global Monitoring report, UNESCO Deputy Director General, Getachew Engida, said “Personally I feel countries that committed themselves haven’t delivered and they should, and we need to keep reminding them of that.
“There is no other alternative than simply saying ‘Please commit yourself and once you’ve committed, deliver’. We continue to pass on that message but we haven’t been fully successful.”
Many countries have increased spending on education. Between 1999 and 2012, 38 countries increased spending by one per cent or more of national income.
But education is not a priority in many national budgets, and many low-income countries rely on overseas development aid to support their programmes, the report said.
In the first decade after the goals were set, foreign aid for education rose to $13.9 billion in 2010, but it stagnated because of the global financial crisis and fell back to $12.6 billion over the last two years, U.N. officials said.
The officials did not say what level of support for education had been agreed in 2000.
An extra $22 billion a year – equivalent to 4.5 days of global military spending – is needed to pay for new schools, more teachers and text books to ensure countries reach new education targets now being set for 2030, the report said.