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By J. E. Thompson

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In Brazil, Ghana, Morocco, Peru and South Africa, fewer than 60% of children in school reached basic competency thresholds (Hanushek and Wößmann, 2007). Factoring in children out of school would be expected to lower the average performance. At primary level, recent surveys in Ghana and Zambia have found that fewer than 60% of young women who completed six years of primary school could read a simple sentence in their own language. Similarly, assessment exercises in countries including India and Pakistan found that over two-thirds of pupils at grade 3 level were unable to write a simple sentence in Urdu.

37 Introduction Almost two decades have passed since governments gathered at the World Conference on Education for All (EFA) in Jomtien, Thailand, to reaffirm the human right to education. They set bold targets – but outcomes fell far short of ambition. In 2000, the 164 governments assembled at the World Education Forum in Dakar, Senegal, adopted another set of ambitious goals on education. The Dakar Framework for Action pledges to expand learning opportunities for every child, youth and adult, and to meet targets in six areas by 2015.

This chapter looks at the issues at stake. 23 2 0 0 9 CHAPTER 1 Education for All Global Monitoring Report Introduction .......................................................................................................... 24 Educational opportunity: highly polarized .................................................................................... 26 Unlocking the wider benefits of education Conclusion .................................................... 29 ..................................................................................................................

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