Despite the importance of basic education to the development of a country, the levels of education are not uniform across countries. This is reflected in the data that reveal the different levels of education achieved by women and men in different countries. For example, Figure 1b shows the proportion of women and men aged 15-49 who do not complete primary education. This information helps us understand the differences between countries and their vulnerability to education.
In poorer countries, it is often difficult for the government to provide basic education for children because they lack the financial means to do so. Many governments have trouble raising enough tax revenue to meet this goal. Moreover, there are often problems with tax administration and collection in these countries. In addition, the government may do a poor job with the available resources. As a result, scarce resources are often not reaching schools and teachers.
Lack of schooling has adverse effects on both the country and the population. Children are often dropped out of school before graduating, and the lack of education impedes social and economic development. Girls, who make up 54% of the non-schooled population, have the least access to education. Boys, on the other hand, are entitled to an education just as much as girls.
Poor countries typically have low levels of primary school enrollment. In these countries, political opposition and weak administrative capacity make it difficult for poor children to receive an education. In addition, parents in these countries often have to organize and pay for their child’s education. While school fees are prohibitive for some parents, it is better to give a child an education than to do nothing at all.
Basic education is a human right and children are entitled to a free and high-quality education. It should never depend on the ability of parents to pay. The ideal arrangement for basic education would be a universal public school financed by the government. If user payments are used for schools, it can be seen as a temporary measure until the government takes over the responsibility for education.
The differences in basic education across countries can be seen in many ways. For example, the differences in wages between workers with and without tertiary education show that higher education is associated with higher relative earnings. The highest earning individuals are those with a college education. Likewise, those with postgraduate degrees have higher earnings compared to those with lower education.
These differences in education are particularly striking in the urban areas. Cities such as Mumbai in India and Lagos in Nigeria have made impressive national progress in this field. Similarly, the subnational regions within a country can make a difference to the global picture.
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