‘Last in, first out’ – Quantifying girls’ retention, completion and transition
FAWE conducted a case study on girls’ retention, completion and transition in selected sub-Saharan African countries.
Since the 2000 World Education Forum (WEF) in Dakar, Senegal, many of the region’s countries have devised strategies and invested resources to expand access to education and improved institutional environments to support and meet the learning needs of all children, youths and adults.
The number out-of-school children in the region dropped from 96 million to 72 million between 1999 and 2005 (UNESCO: 2008). A number of governments, including in Botswana, Burundi, Cameroon, Kenya and Lesotho, have declared free education and backed their political declarations with resources. Other countries including Seychelles have reached near-universal participation in all levels of education (GCE: 2008).
Despite these advancements, progression past the primary grades and school completion remain important concerns in sub-Saharan Africa.
Today, 115 million children of primary school age are not in school (UNESCO: 2006) and an unacceptably high proportion of Africans reach adulthood without acquiring the most basic reading and writing skills.
Sub-Saharan Africa faces great educational and developmental challenges with regard to illiterate and under-educated youth and adults. Reports indicate that the region has the lowest rates of completion and transition as well as the highest numbers of irregular patterns of school attendance.
A significant share of these young school children are girls who either drop out of school or experience extensive interruptions to their education (GCE: 2008). In 54 African countries, less than fifty percent of girls complete primary and successfully enroll in secondary education.
FAWE’s case study therefore seeks to:
- Quantify girl’s education in terms of retention, completion and transition at all levels of education in sub-Saharan countries where FAWE has a presence;
- Identify countries where girls are at risk of failure in retention, completion and transition within those countries;
- Analyze the interaction, linkages and relationships among the barriers to retention, completion and transition in girl’s education;
- Examine best and worst practices where governments have impacted girl’s education in the areas of retention, completion and transition; and,
- Generate a set of action-oriented recommendations for policy, planning and program interventions for girl’s education at the different levels of the education system.