Education is one of the most powerful tools for reducing poverty and increasing equality. Education is also essential for propelling sustained economic growth and globally competitive economies. Yet providing basic education for all children in developing countries has been, and remains, an unmet challenge of governments and international organizations alike. In Africa alone, it is estimated that 28 million girls up to the age of 15 are not in school and most will never see a classroom.
Broad-based education is associated with the faster diffusion of information in the economy, which is crucial for increased productivity in both the traditional and modern sectors. Research indicates that higher levels of primary education contribute to better natural resource management, including conservation of the tropical rain forest, and more rapid technological adaptation and innovation.
When a large share of children do not complete primary education, the productivity of the labor force, the potential for knowledge-driven development, and the reservoir of human potential from which society and the economy can draw are all fundamentally constrained.
IFC works actively with governments to take advantage of the private sector’s considerable expertise in the education sector to improve both the access to, and quality of, educational services in their countries.
EXAMPLES OF WHAT WE DO:
BRAZIL: BELO HORIZONTE SCHOOLS
The third largest city in Brazil has made early education a priority in an effort to improve the competitiveness of its workforce in the long term and support the national government’s policy goals to strengthen its preschool and primary school system.
HOUSING THE NEXT GENERATION OF KENYA’S LEADERS
At one Kenyan university, narrowing the backlog of students admitted after high school graduation and declaration of free primary education for all led to the nation’s first PPP.
HANDSHAKE #8: LEARNING
Studying the strategies of governments, corporations, and not-for-profit enterprises in the vanguard of the most innovative education partnerships around the world, this issue features an exclusive interview with Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Education as well as a special section on the future of education.