Monday, December 11, 2006

Milllenium goals

The Millenium Goals to end poverty have brought an urgency and focus to the multitude of aid programs. One of the Goals was to ensure that all children have access to free primary school education.

Great strides have been made towards this goal since it has become a priority. However, the World Bank's Annual Review of Aid Effectiveness 2006 notes that

Achieving high-quality development results takes time, but pressure to show results quickly can divert attention from the quality of results. For instance, the Millennium Development Goal of ensuring universal completion of primary education by 2015 has spurred massive efforts to increase enrollments. These rapid increases are welcome, but in many countries they have come at the expense of attention to learning outcomes. In Uganda, for example, access to education has improved greatly, but there are now 94 children per classroom and three students have to share a single textbook. Yet, the experience of India, Ghana and Uruguay has shown that it is possible to combine increased access with gradual gains in learning outcomes. This requires careful strategic planning and strong commitment to focus on learning outcomes from the outset. However, only about one-third of primary education sector operations assessed by IEG explicitly aimed to improve learning outcomes.

Of course, it is likely that these deficiencies will be fixed in time and more teachers and resources will be provided so that primary education is not a token affair.

So I'm really glad that the School of St Jude has emphasised quality education right from the start. At the School, class sizes are under 30, there is a well-stocked library and a computer lab. A cooked lunch and morning tea are provided.

No wonder the children excelled in the recent national skills examination.

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