Increasing literacy levels in young people could help meet rising aspirations

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In the next 15 years, the world will need 600 million jobs for young people . The Solutions for Youth Employment coalition (S4YE), which provides leadership and resources to increase the number of young people engaged in productive work, found that in the next 20 years, global growth will be driven by young people.

This World Youth Skills Day, we are looking at some of the challenges when it comes to youth employment. Currently, there are 621 million youth who are not being educated, employed or trained. Worse, youth unemployment is three times higher than the adult unemployment rate . And for those who manage to get a job, 1 in 4 young people can’t find work for more than $1.25 a day! 

In their study, the Solutions for Youth Employment coalition cited the low quality of education and training without clear link to labor markets, as one of the contributors to the daunting statistics above. I used this as an indicator to dig deeper into the World Bank’s data on global literacy rates to find out how they fare between males and females across regions.

From the chart above, we can see that Europe and Central Asia had the highest literacy rate of 99.74% for male youth, in 2010. Again, we can also see that Sub-Saharan Africa had the lowest rate at 76.86% for the same year. What is perhaps most interesting is the drastic gap in literary rates between males and females across regions. Given that Africa has the youngest population in the world, it’s not surprising that the highest literacy gap between males and females, is also found in the region. It also happens to have the highest rate of unemployment amongst the youth, globally. A further look at the Sub Saharan Africa region revealed that in 2010, Botswana had the highest literacy rate (for females) at 100%  while Niger had the lowest at 27%.

To end poverty, countries should invest in their people. Botswana did just that –the country’s public investment in education is high, at more than 9% of the country’s GDP. Last year, the World Bank group committed to investing $2.5 billion over five years in education projects which directly benefit girls. This support will come in handy especially for regions such as Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia which have the highest number of out of school girls.

As we work to meet the rising aspirations of young people across the world, we should consider education as one of the driving tools. For instance, in places like Africa which has a population of 1.2 billion, 226 million smart phones were connected to the internet in 2015. As more people are connected to the internet, aspirations (which are linked to opportunity) will continue to rise.

Preparing these young people with the relevant skills attained through education and training will help us create dynamism and inclusive, sustainable economic growth.

Join the Conversation

Nawsheen
July 17, 2017

<p>Wonderful! I have been part of this effort in the African Development Bank since 2011. Africa's youth is its main asset. Let's invest in them as much as we invest in roads and dams.</p>

Channabasava Kashinakunti
July 15, 2017

<p>Well information</p>

Esther Njeri
July 28, 2017

<p>Africa needs to invest more in its formal education in order to eradicate illiteracy</p>

Yahya Muhammed
July 18, 2017

<p>Happy to hear about this information..I pray this goal be achieved..</p>

Nathanael Mpasi
July 24, 2017

<p>Nothing we can do,without investing in education seriously,in Africa continent the rulers they do not care and they do not matter,what i can advise is you to use NGOs,dealing with education development by giving them support.</p>

Nawsheen
July 17, 2017

Wonderful! I have been part of this effort in the African Development Bank since 2011. Africa's youth is its main asset. Let's invest in them as much as we invest in roads and dams.

judith camargo
July 14, 2017

Lo mismo ocurre en Latinoamérica. Concretamente en Bolivia. La tasa de desempleo mayor esta en los jóvenes. Los que no están capacitados. Pero también los atrasados de las diferentes universidades. Ambos grupos no tienen una formación pertinente y relacionada a la demanda labiral

Alberto
July 15, 2017

Muchos discrepamos del metodo que sugieren capacitar ser competentes para que? O para quien? Inclusivo? No es que el ser humano desde que nace ya es ser humano incluirlo en que lista de empleados de un patron de conducta que excluye a 90% de los seres no es que ya el ser humano nacio libre de escoger su propio destino sin estar sujeto a una disciplina que lo unico que hara es excluirlo de sus propios sueños aspiraciones conocimiento sobre lo que qyiere hacer no sobre lo que quieren que este haga vamos a pensar que muchos de los creadores de este metodo nacieron para hacernos creer en que este nos libera mientras ellos cabildean para oprimirnos y obligarnos a adoptarlo sera que nacieron para hacer esto o tambien se han visto oblugados y sometidos por ser incluudos lo contrario estuvieran al otro lado del lado de emporios los que no necesitan escribir sino que pagar a los que obligados por la sociedad y un salario lo hacen

Dr Djibril Diop
July 15, 2017

Decidement la Banque change. Aujourd'hui elle encourage les pays à investir massivement dans leur population après des décennies funeste de PASA qui ont détruit les bases fragiles d'un développement socio-économiques qui se mettait en place post indépendance. Tant mieux.

Bah amadou Oury
July 15, 2017

Biensur que oui l'Afrique a un faible taux déscolarisées mais c'est due a l'incapacité des chef d'États qui n'alloue pas un fond considérable a l'éducation et le mandlque de courant électrique surtout chez moi en guinée c'est déplorable ! LR système éducatif de mon pays est dans un état déplorable

Channabasava Kashinakunti
July 15, 2017

Well information

Esther Njeri
July 28, 2017

Africa needs to invest more in its formal education in order to eradicate illiteracy

abderrahmane sidi saleh
July 15, 2017

Je suis intéressé car dans mon pays la Mauritanie plus 35 pour cent son des alphabets

Yahya Muhammed
July 18, 2017

Happy to hear about this information..I pray this goal be achieved..

Nathanael Mpasi
July 24, 2017

Nothing we can do,without investing in education seriously,in Africa continent the rulers they do not care and they do not matter,what i can advise is you to use NGOs,dealing with education development by giving them support.

AGUESSY Bidossèssi Inès
July 29, 2017

Une thématique qui nécessite des actions dans tous les pays en Afrique. La jeunesse est sous employée; aidons la à se faire des compétences certaines et à mériter un bon job. Je milite pour ça dans mon association Espace Leaders au BENIN.