DAR ES SALAAM Tanzania (Xinhua) --
Africa is facing a severe learning crisis that
thwarts its economic growth and the well-being of the citizens,
said a new World Bank study released in Tanzania on Monday.
The study, released
in Tanzania’s commercial capital, Dar es Salaam, said learning
levels across the region are alarmingly low.
“The region has made
considerable progress in boosting primary and lower secondary
school enrollment, but some 50 million children remain out of
school, and most of those who attend school are not acquiring
the basic skills necessary for success later in life,” said the
It said among
second-grade students assessed on numeracy tests in several
sub-Saharan African countries, three-quarters could not count
beyond 80 and 40 percent could not do a one-digit addition
“In reading, between
50 and 80 percent of children in second grade could not answer a
single question based on a short passage they had read, and a
large proportion could not read even a single word,” said the
high-quality basic education for children across the region is
an economic necessity, as well as a moral imperative,” said the
World Bank’s Senior Director for Education Jaime Saavedra.
provides a sobering look at Africa’s learning crisis and the
region’s potential to solve it,” Saavedra said. “Young Africans
can transform the region and create lasting economic change, but
they need to be equipped with the skills and human capital to do
report urges countries to focus on student progression and the
“traffic jam” in early grades, where children are stuck for many
years with little learning, and are often taught in a language
they don’t fully understand.
According to the
study, African governments spent an estimated 204 U.S. dollars
per student for primary education in 2014, less than half of the
amount spent in South Asia, the region with the next lowest
level of spending.