July 2018, »Education and Development » by Vanessa Casadella*
Since the theories of Human Capital and Endogenous Growth, it is widely accepted that education is a growth factor and a means of combating all forms of poverty. The more educated a population is, the more productive it is, having a positive impact on economic growth. Education is a condition for changing social behavior and patterns of production and is a milestone in the competitiveness of states. This role seems reinforced in the new economy of information, knowledge and innovation and cognitive capitalism.
Therefore, the State has the responsibility to consider the school as its priority. The responsibility to give everyone the chance to flourish. Governments must ensure that those who remain excluded and marginalized are taken into account through more targeted education policies. When these policies are impelled, public decision-makers put in place numerous tools aimed at the widening and continuity of the educational offer, the improvement of the efficiency of the education system, the dynamism of technical education and vocational training or the promotion of the Learning Culture. Very often, educational policies are accompanied by institutional arrangements enabling them to reach their medium-term objectives more rapidly. These educational policies are very heterogeneous from one context to another, from one territory to another and from one region to another, and there is not always a perfect match between them and the quantitative and quality of schooling. Overall, illiteracy remains high in developing countries and primary school enrollment is still far from being democratized.
The case of Sub-Saharan Africa remains problematic with a combination of handicaps largely highlighted by the economic literature, O.N.G and international institutions. With 58 million children out of school in 2012, Sub-Saharan Africa has been most affected by the difficulties inherent in achieving the objectives of Education For All (E.F.A), defined by Unesco. Entire groups of the population remain excluded from the education system. Nevertheless, to present more encouraging results, the 2015 edition of the EFA Global Report shows that net enrollment rates in primary education have improved significantly, reaching 93% in 2015, compared with 84% in 1999. Promising results, but which show a great disparity. The great diversity of situations within the continent is the rule, even between countries that are geographically close, culturally similar or of comparable economic level. The debates on education and its policies are thus very controversial, given the diversity of actors, practices, territories, knowledge and know-how.
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* Université Picardie Jules Verne, CRIISEA, RRI