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Keeping the Promise: Five Benefits in Girls’ Secondary Education. May Rihani Senior Vice President and Director Academy for Educational Development October 2007. Why focus on post primary? Quick statistical overview.

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keeping the promise five benefits in girls secondary education

Keeping the Promise: Five Benefits in Girls’ Secondary Education

May Rihani

Senior Vice President and Director

Academy for Educational Development

October 2007

why focus on post primary quick statistical overview
Why focus on post primary? Quick statistical overview
  • Huge gains in primary enrollment, reaching a world average of 83.8 percent in net primary enrollment
  • However, large numbers do not continue on to secondary school
    • The rate of secondary enrollment drops to 59.3 percent
    • In sub-Saharan Africa, only 17 percent of girls are enrolled in secondary school
sub saharan africa where 25 or fewer girls are enrolled in secondary school 2002 2003
Sub-Saharan Africa, where 25% or fewer girls are enrolled in secondary school, 2002/2003

Sources: UNESCO Global Education Digest, 2005, and EFA Global Monitoring Report, 2006

barriers and challenges why fewer girls
Barriers and challenges: Why fewer girls?
  • Economic constraints: The direct financial cost plus the “opportunity cost,” in particular for rural girls
  • Cultural constraints: Distance and safety concerns
  • Educational constraints
    • Only the best-performing children are allowed to continue
    • Lack of adequate number of female teachers, which impacts the participation of girls
  • Inequity constraints: Girls face behavioral inequities in the classroom and a lack role models
why investing in girls secondary education is imperative
Why investing in girls’ secondary education is imperative
  • Primary education’s benefits are not sufficient to move nations socially and economically forward in a meaningful way
  • Given globalization, benefits of primary education are a necessary but not sufficient condition
  • The benefits of secondary education enable girls to make a quantum leap in terms of their social roles, decision making, and empowerment

What are these benefits?

main benefits of girls secondary education i health
Main benefits of girls’ secondary educationI. HEALTH
  • Girls’ secondary education is related to infant mortality
    • Gender gaps are negatively related to children’s mortality (Where only half as many girls as boys go to school, 21 more children die per 1,000, Hill and King, 1995)
    • Infant mortality is one quarter lower where girls are educated as much as boys (Klasen, 1999)
  • Secondary education is associated with delays of entry into reproductive life
main benefits of girls secondary education i health con t
Main benefits of girls’ secondary educationI. HEALTH (con’t)
  • Postponement of marriage and reduction of family size
    • A study of Brazil finds that illiterate women have an average of six children each, while literate women have an average of 2.5 children each (UNESCO 2000)
  • Higher rates of children’s immunization
    • A multi-country study shows that educated mothers are about 50% more likely to immunize their children than uneducated mothers (Gage et al.,1997)
  • Improvement in children’s and family nutrition
secondary education is related to lower fertility rates and unwanted pregnancies
Secondary education is related to lower fertility rates and unwanted pregnancies

Girls’ secondary education and teen birthrates for selected countries, 1995

Source: Population Action International, 1998

Top seven countries in girls’ secondary education

Bottom seven countries in girls’ secondary education

Gross secondary enrollment rates for girls

Births per 1,000 girls, 15-19 years old

secondary education is associated with lower children s stunting

120%

Gross % of girls enrolled in secondary school

100%

80%

Gross % of children younger than 5 with severe stunting

60%

40%

20%

0%

Burkino

Faso

Burundi

Chad

Guinea

Mozambique

Niger

Argentina

Bahrain

Barbados

Secondary education is associated with lower children’s stunting

Girls’ secondary education and severe stunting, selected countries

Countries with fewer girls in secondary school

Countries with more girls in secondary school

marriage sexual relations and parenting

No education

Primary education only

Secondary education only

Marriage, sexual relations, and parenting
main benefits of girls secondary education ii mitigation of hiv aids
Main benefits of girls’ secondary educationII. MITIGATION OF HIV/AIDS
  • Half of the more than 40 million people living with HIV and AIDS are women and girls
  • A 72-country analysis finds that where the literacy gap between boys and girls exceeds 25%, HIV prevalence exceeds 5% of the cited breakout level (Over, 1998)
  • A study of Zambia finds that AIDS spread twice as fast among uneducated girls compared to educated girls (Vandermoortele & Delamonica, 2000)
main benefits of girls secondary education ii mitigation of hiv aids con t
Main benefits of girls’ secondary educationII. MITIGATION OF HIV/AIDS (con’t)
  • Secondary school creates a valuable window of opportunity since it captures girls when self esteem and self confidence can be most important
  • When secondary school introduces the “fourth R,” “Responsibility,” which includes life skills and relevant quality curriculum, then girls and boys can learn healthy behaviors
main benefits of girls secondary education iii education
Main benefits of girls’ secondary educationIII. EDUCATION
  • The existence of secondary schools in a catchment area tends to increase primary school enrollment and quality
  • Ensuring that all students are within a reasonable distance of an affordable middle school increases parental commitment to schooling
  • Parents’ involvement in school leads to higher quality education
main benefits of girls secondary education iv social benefits
Main benefits of girls’ secondary educationIV. SOCIAL BENEFITS
  • Secondary education equips students with critical thinking skills, increasing civic participation and democratic change
  • As students pursue secondary education, they are less likely to engage in or become victims of crime and youth violence
  • Secondary education reduces the risk of human trafficking by increasing economic opportunities and making children less vulnerable to outside influences
main benefits of girls secondary education v economic benefits
Main benefits of girls’ secondary educationV. ECONOMIC BENEFITS
  • Primary and secondary education can become a tool for poverty alleviation
  • With secondary education, girls and women are empowered to access additional work opportunities
  • Girls’ secondary education produces health benefits that have positive economic impacts on families
main benefits of girls secondary education v economic benefits con t
Main benefits of girls’ secondary educationV. ECONOMIC BENEFITS (con’t)
  • Girls’ secondary education produces high returns in terms of wage growth
  • According to a 100-country study by the World Bank, increasing the share of women with secondary education by 1 percentage point in a country boosts annual per capita income growth by 0.3 percentage points, on average
vicious cycle
Vicious Cycle

High infant

and child mortality

Very low % of

girls’ participation

in secondary

education

Mothers with low

functional and

analytical literacy

Heavy economic

opportunity cost to

women and families

Large number

of pregnancies

High material

mortality

virtuous cycle
Virtuous Cycle

Higher level

of socio-eco-

nomic development

because all members of

society are educated

and engaged

Women are

empowered to

access additional

opportunities and are more

highly engaged in their

communities

and countries

Low infant

and child mortality

High low % of

girls’ participation

in secondary

education

Educated mothers

with functional and

analytical literacy

Heavy economic

opportunity cost to

women and families

Fewer

pregnancies

Lower material

mortality/higher

economic

productivity

investment in secondary education
Investment in Secondary Education
  • The 2006 EFA Global Monitoring Report states that in 2002 developing countries spent 15.5% of total government expenditures on education
  • 91.8% of total public educational expenditures were spent on primary education
  • Two questions for consideration
    • Should public expenditures on education be increased?
    • Should public expenditures on secondary education be increased?
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