Education is very important in the growth and development of a nation. The UN therefore as part of their SDGs listed Quality education as one of the important goals to achieve. These goals are set for Africa, focusing on developing nations (eg Chad and Cameroon) where the level and quality of education is below par to sustain development.
In the countries of Chad and Cameroon, some challenges have continued o hinder adequate education. Chad prioritizes education, but achieving Sustainable Development Goal 4 remains a significant challenge for the nation (SDG). And this is despite the government’s and its partner’s efforts to provide an equal, inclusive, and high-quality education for every child in the nation through social, technical, and financial partnerships.
One out of every two school-age children is not enrolled in school, and girls make up a large portion of this low enrollment rate. Only 20% of kids who complete primary school have a solid foundation in reading and math in the two classroom languages, French and Arabic, according to PASEC 2014. Around 2 million young people, or 70% of the population, are illiterate, meaning they are unable to read or write. The situation is even more concerning for girls between the ages of 15 and 24, where the rate exceeds 77%.
Generally speaking, teachers have low academic standards. Three out of four teachers who are in charge of students have the highest education level that does not exceed secondary school. Higher education, technical education, and professional training are not widely accessible. Three humanitarian crises—in the Central African Republic, Sudan, Cameroon and Nigeria—have had an impact on the nation. With over 600,000 refugee children in need of education, these crises have increased the strain on Chad’s educational system.
Boys in School without basic materials like tables and chairs. Chad. Photo: borgenmagazine.com
Cameroon isn’t so different, but it is. The biggest gap between the poorest and wealthiest children in Cameroon is those who are of primary school age. The government of Cameroon implemented free primary education fifteen years ago in an effort to boost student attendance and fulfil the MDG of achieving universal primary education. Due to the suspension of the payment of school fees, there was a dramatic reduction in the amount of money available for necessities. Despite government efforts to ensure that every child attend school, only 65% of students actually do so because they still have to pay “Parent Teacher Association” dues, which the majority of parents cannot afford. As a result, schools are dependent on government funding allocations, which never arrive on time. More than 80% of head teachers said that budgets are late, and 57% said that this budget does not include resources to support learning. Because of the subpar learning environment, the majority of teachers choose not to attend school.
Pupils attending school in Far North region in Cameroon, but thousands of children do not have the same opportunity. Photo: NRC
According to estimates, 30% of Cameroonians make less than $2 per day, so the many unstated fees that schools impose disenfranchise the underprivileged. Over 50% of primary schools, according to Transparency International, had subpar infrastructure; only 19% had functional restrooms, 30% had access to tap water, and hardly 30% had enough tables and benches for students. The total net enrollment in primary education for both sexes in Cameroon increased from 72% in 1990 to an estimated 94.9% in 2014, according to the MDG indicators. Based on the facts of the situation, this is not reflective at all. Teachers’ absences from school were a major cause of the low quality of instruction and lax rule and regulation implementation and enforcement. In Cameroon, 18% of girls were not in school in 2011, compared to 12.6% of boys, according to the 2011 Cameroon DHS Survey. Due to differences in wealth, gender, and learning outcomes, children from rural areas had higher out-of-school rates (22%) than those from urban areas (7%), which puts vulnerable groups at risk of not attending school.
The SDG 4 Quality Education is broken down into a number of targets.
4.1 By 2030, guarantee that all boys and girls complete primary and secondary education that is free, equitable and produces effective learning outcomes for Goal 4.
4.2 By 2030, make sure that every boy and girl has access to high-quality prekindergarten instruction so they are prepared for primary school.
4.3 By 2030, guarantee that all men and women have equal access to technical, vocational, and tertiary education that is both affordable and of high quality, including university.
4.4 Increase youth and adult populations with relevant skills, such as technical and vocational ones, for employment, decent jobs, and entrepreneurship, by a significant margin by 2030.
4.5 By 2030, eradicate gender disparities in education and guarantee that those who are most at risk—including people with disabilities, indigenous peoples, and children—have equal access to all levels of education and vocational training.
4.6 By 2030, make sure that every child and a sizable portion of adults—men and women—are literate and numerate.
4.7 By 2030, ensure that all students have the knowledge and abilities necessary to advance sustainable development. This includes, among other things, promoting human rights, gender equality, a culture of peace and nonviolence, global citizenship, and an appreciation of cultural diversity and the role that culture plays in advancing sustainability.
4. A. Create and improve learning environments that are secure, nonviolent, inclusive, and effective for everyone in schools that are child, disability, and gender sensitive.
4. B. To significantly increase the number of scholarships available to developing nations by 2020 for enrollment in higher education, including technical training and information and communications technology, technical, engineering, and scientific programs in developed nations and other developing nations, with a focus on the least developed nations, small island developing states, and African countries.
4. C. Increase the number of qualified teachers available by 2030, in part through international cooperation for teacher training in developing nations, particularly in the least developed and small island developing states.
The year is 2022 and so there is some time to meet these targets. The issues are real and concerning, and with the struggle to recover from the economic and societal effects of COVID19 progress has been slow. During the pandemic and mandatory lockdowns, schools couldn’t hold classes. Unlike developed countries where internet classes helped alleviate this worry, children in Chad and Cameroon could not hold classes and as such were set back by at least a year of school work. It is clear that efforts need to be doubled in order to meet the 2030 target.