Saturday, December 22, 2007

Male-female gap in literacy widening: UN report

The male-female gulf in literacy rates in Asia and Africa seems to be widening, says a UN report. In India, more than half of young women aged 15-19 years have no primary education.

'In India, the proportion of girls enrolled in primary education rose from 84 to 96 percent between 1998 and 2002. Nevertheless, many countries, particularly those in South Asia, still have a long way to go to achieve gender parity in education,' says the report titled 'World Youth Report 2007' released Wednesday.

'Poverty is a major barrier to schooling. When poor parents need to make a choice, girls tend to be excluded first from attending school. The gap between male and female literacy rates in Asia and Africa appears to be widening.'

The report focuses on challenges in youth development in Asia, Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and North Africa, small-island developing states, countries with economies in transition and developed market economies.

One major finding is that the 1.2 billion people between the ages of 15 and 24 years in 2007 -- who constitute 18 percent of the world population-- are the best educated youth generation in history and are a tremendous resource for national development.

Of the global youth labour force of 633 million, some 353 million (55.7 percent) lived in Asia.

'Among the most important factors that will influence whether and how Asian economies continue to benefit from their sizeable youth population is how much of an opportunity youth have to develop their potential through education, decent employment opportunities and adequate health care.'

Further, Asia is a major receiving and sending region of migrants as job opportunities outside home communities and countries have encouraged millions of young Asians to become mobile on both a permanent and non-permanent basis.

Opportunities for migration to Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries have increased for highly skilled Asian youth, resulting in considerable outflows of the most qualified and brightest young people in many countries, says the report

With 29 percent of the global total of those studying outside their home country, East Asia and the Pacific contribute the largest group of students studying abroad. China accounts for 14 percent of all mobile students.

'Compared with other regions, globalisation has arguably had the most impact on the rapidly growing Asian economies. In addressing the challenges and opportunities related to globalisation and education in Asia,' the report notes.

'The openness of these economies and the exposure to foreign goods, services and information has significantly changed the lives, values and culture of many young Asians.'

While globalisation has fostered the coexistence of affluence and poverty it has widened inequalities within and between countries.

'While many young people benefit from increased education options and from the new industries that moved to Asia, others continue to be restricted by inadequate schooling and poverty and are outside the reach of the basic information, goods and services that have become available with globalisation.'


Source: http://www.indiaenews.com/education/20071219/86970.htm


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