The great­est sin­gle chal­lenge fac­ing our glob­alised world is to com­bat and erad­i­cate its dis­par­i­ties.” – Nel­son Mandela

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For­mer pres­i­dent Nel­son Mandela’s hand­prints at Maropeng

Edu­ca­tion is unequal across the globe. As in all issues of sus­tain­abil­i­ty, it is a con­test­ed area with the rich­est con­sum­ing the most resources and the poor­est the fewest.

In 19 out of 44 African coun­tries, more than half of all chil­dren will not com­plete pri­ma­ry school. – Unesco Glob­al Edu­ca­tion Digest, 2005

More than 85% of pri­ma­ry pupils make the tran­si­tion to low­er sec­ondary in most coun­tries in Europe, Asia, North and South Amer­i­ca.
– Unesco Glob­al Edu­ca­tion Digest, 2005

In Sub-Saha­ran Africa the ratio of boys’ to girls’ enrol­ment in pri­ma­ry and sec­ondary schools is 8 to 1. – Unit­ed Nations Asso­ci­a­tion of the Unit­ed States of America.

An aver­age of 1.7% of pri­ma­ry schools stu­dents repeat a grade in the world’s rich­est coun­tries; in the poor­est, the aver­age is 7.7%, with rates reach­ing near­ly 20% in Sub-Saha­ran Africa. – Unesco, 2005

What do you think?

An aver­age of 1.7% of pri­ma­ry school stu­dents repeat a grade in the world’s rich­est coun­tries; in the poor­est, the aver­age is 7.7%, with rates reach­ing near­ly 20% in Sub-Saha­ran Africa. – Unesco, 2005

The focus of devel­op­ment should look for­ward, beyond uni­ver­sal pri­ma­ry edu­ca­tion.” – Unesco Glob­al Edu­ca­tion Digest, 2005.

The priv­i­lege of a high­er edu­ca­tion, espe­cial­ly out­side Africa, broad­ened my orig­i­nal hori­zon and encour­aged me to focus on the envi­ron­ment, women and devel­op­ment in order to improve the qual­i­ty of life of peo­ple in my coun­try in par­tic­u­lar and in the African region in general.”

– Wan­gari Maathai, Kenyan envi­ron­men­tal­ist and Nobel Peace Prize laureate

There are an esti­mat­ed 771-mil­lion illit­er­ate adults in the world, about two-thirds of whom are women. – Unesco, 2005

Edu­ca­tion is not the fill­ing of a buck­et, but the light­ing of a fire.” – WB Yeats, writer and poet

How can I have a voice when there is no school?” – Lina Mag­a­ia, Mozam­bi­can writer

What can we do?

Ensure that, by 2015, chil­dren every­where, boys and girls alike, will be able to com­plete a full course of pri­ma­ry school­ing and that girls and boys will have equal access to all lev­els of edu­ca­tion. – Mil­len­ni­um Devel­op­ment Goals, Unit­ed Nations, 2000

Return to the Exhi­bi­tion Guide.