'Toughest places for girls to get an education': Africa gets 9 slots in top 10

A development campaign group, ONE, has disclosed that countries in sub-Saharan Africa dominate a ranking of places unfavourable for the girl child to get an education.

The One report released on the occasion of International Day of the Girl (October 11) was titled: “The Toughest Places For A Girl To Get An Education.” It said due to existing hurdles that girls face in trying to get education, in 2017, nearly half a billion women worldwide still cannot read.

Out of the top 10 countries, only fourth-place Afghanistan is outside of Africa. Conflict-plagued duo of South Sudan and the Central Africa Republic were joined by Niger to complete the top three slots respectively.

Adolescent girls in conflict zones are 90 per cent more likely to be out of school when compared to girls in conflict-free countries, compromising their future prospects for work and financial independence as adults.

Chad, Mali, Guinea and Burkina Faso are all listed as well as Liberia and Ethiopia. This year’s event was held under the theme, ‘EmPOWER girls: Before, during and after conflict.’

Here are the specific reasons the report gave on ranking the respective countries.

1. South Sudan: 73% of girls in South Sudan don’t go to school.
2. Central Africa Republic: Statistics indicate that the country has one teacher to every 80 students.
3. Niger: Only 17% of girls and women aged 15 – 24 are literate.
4. Afghanistan: As of 2014, Afghanistan had the highest level of gender disparity in primary education, 1000 boys: 71 girls.
5. Chad: The country is ranked among top 5 worst-performers in the World Economic Forum’s 2016 Global Gender Gap Report.
6. Mali: Less than half (38%) of girls have completed primary school.
7. Guinea: Women aged 25 and above have on average attended school for less than a year.
8. Burkina Faso: Only 1% of Burkinabe girls complete secondary school.
9. Liberia: Nearly two-thirds of primary school-aged girls are out of school.
10. Ethiopia: Estimates indicate that 2 in every 5 girls marry before their 18th birthday and nearly 1 in 5 marries before age 15.

How the Index was Compiled courtesy ONE

“To create the index, we chose 11 factors that reflect girls’ access to and completion of school, the quality of education in a country, and the broader enabling environment.

“The factors selected with available data are: rate of out-of-school girls of primary, lower secondary and upper secondary age; school completion rate for girls of primary, lower secondary and upper secondary age.

The remaining indicators were: “mean years of schooling for women aged 25 and over; female literacy rate for population aged 15–24; percentage of primary school teachers trained; pupil– teacher ratio in primary schools; and spending on education as a percentage of total government expenditure.”

‘‘Every 10 minutes, somewhere in the world, an adolescent girl dies as a result of violence. In humanitarian emergencies, gender-based violence often increases, subjecting girls to sexual and physical violence, child marriage, exploitation and trafficking.

‘‘Adolescent girls in conflict zones are 90 per cent more likely to be out of school when compared to girls in conflict-free countries, compromising their future prospects for work and financial independence as adults,’‘ U.N. Women said on its website.

The United Nations has since 2012, marked 11 October as the International Day of the Girl. The day aims to highlight and address the needs and challenges girls face, while promoting girls’ empowerment and the fulfillment of their human rights.

According to the U.N., the world’s 1.1 billion girls are a source of power, energy, and creativity – and the millions of girls in emergencies are no exception.

The event marks the beginning of a year-long effort to spur global attention and action to the challenges and opportunities girls face before, during, and after crises.

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