A new report by the World Bank has suggested that less than two-thirds of girls in low-income countries complete primary education and that only one in three goes through lower secondary education.The report claims that is to say only 40 percent of girls in sub-Saharan Africa get any form of primary education.
“In sub-Saharan Africa only an average of 40 percent of girls completes lower secondary education. Governments must therefore implement policies to support healthy, job-creating economic growth in order to absorb an increasingly educated workforce,” the World Bank said in a statement during the presentation of the report entitled “Missed Opportunities: The High Cost of Not Educating Girls.”
The Bretton Woods institution goes on to say that girls’ limited access to education and barriers to achieving 12-year schooling “cost countries between $15 trillion and $30 trillion in lost productivity and income throughout life.”
On average, says the WB, women who have completed high school are more likely to work and earn almost twice as much as early dropouts.
The Bank outlines “other economic and social benefits” that can result from girls’ schooling in secondary school not only for themselves but also for their future offspring and their communities.
These benefits range from the disappearance of early marriages, to a one-third drop in fertility rate in countries with high population growth and the decline in child mortality and malnutrition.
“We cannot afford to let gender inequality impede global progress. Inequality in education is also one of those issues that we have the capacity to address and it is costing several trillions of dollars worldwide. It is high time the inequality gap in education was bridged and give girls and boys the same opportunities for success in life,” Kristalina Georgieva, Executive Director of the World Bank Group said.
The new report, which was supported by the Children’s Fund Foundation, the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) and the Malala Fund, concludes that nearly 132 million girls aged between six and seventeen are still out of school, 75 of them being teenagers.