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Published On: Mon, Mar 10th, 2014

100m young women still unable to read a single sentence, says UNESCO

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By Tobias Lengnan Dapam

A report issued by the Gender Summary, which analyses data from the latest edition of UNESCO Education for All Global Monitoring has indicated that about 100 million young women were unable to read a single sentence.

It said the highest level of illiteracy was occasioned by serious gender imbalance in global education which left young women in low and lower middle income countries unable to read a single sentence.

The study added that the issue will prevent half of the 31 million girls out of school from ever enrolling.

The report was among the main findings of the new summary, launched for International Women’s Day in partnership with the United Nations Girls Education Initiative (UNGEI), which called for equity to be at the forefront of new global development goals after 2015, to give every child equal chance of learning through quality education.

“Despite some progress, in 2011, only 60% of countries had achieved parity in primary education and only 38% of countries had achieved parity in secondary education. Among low income countries, just 20% had achieved gender parity at the primary level, 10% at the lower secondary level and 8% at the upper secondary level” the report said.

It further revealed that girls living in the Arab States are at a greater disadvantaged owing to the share of females in the out-of-school population which amounted to 60 %, compared with 57% in South and West Asia and 54 % in sub-Saharan Africa.

On current trends, the report projected that only 70% of countries will have achieved parity in primary education by 2015, and 56% will have achieved parity in lower secondary education.

“Unless improvements are made, the poorest girls will achieve universal primary completion sixty years later than the richest boys. The new summary reiterates the need for progress in education to be more evenly spread between girls and boys if global education goals are to be achieved.

“It is simply intolerable that girls are being left behind. For poor girls, education is one of the most powerful routes to a better future, helping them escape from a vicious cycle of poverty. Governments must ensure that there is equal access to education to address this shocking imbalance,” said Irina Bokova, Director General, UNESCO

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