By Yann Gwet
In this era of constant shocks, Africa should invest massively in education. The objective must be to create a high-quality educational system that is accessible to a larger number of people; to provide education that gives high-level fundamental knowledge, but that is also capable of responding to the needs of a labor market that is experiencing constant change. For example, how many Africans who were educated locally will be hired by Google’s Artificial Intelligence research center slated to open in Ghana?
In this and other respects, the challenges are considerable: a recent UNESCO report says that in Sub-Saharan Africa, each fifth child aged 6-11 did not go to school in 2017, against a third of children aged 12-14, and 60% of young people aged 15-17. The World Bank meanwhile reports that in Sub-Saharan Africa fewer than 7% of pupils in primary school read fluently (the level of mathematics knowledge is hardly better).
A quick look at the ratings PISA that evaluates the level of pupils aged 15 in the OECD countries, reveals that the development strategy by education is in no respect original and is not incompatible with the industrialization strategy. In 2016 Singapore was rated first in the field of science, in front of Japan (second), Taiwan (fourth), China (tenth), and South Korea (eleventh). Even if they are not followed, all economic models offer useful lessons.
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