UN launches project to achieve universal primary education in Equatorial Guinea

2 March 2004

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Equatorial Guinea have launched a scheme to train enough teachers so that every child in the African country can finish primary school by 2010.

Over the next four years the UNDP and Equatorial Guinea have promised to spend $5.2 million training 2,000 teachers, 45 school inspectors and 36 education advisers as part of a scheme dubbed “Education for All,” the agency said yesterday.

Currently only half of Equatorial Guinea’s primary school-age children attend one of its 884 primary schools. One in five pupils drops out each year and half the children in school are older than their grade level.

Some schools have classes of 70 students and the country’s two teacher training colleges cannot keep up with demand, according to UNDP.

The scheme’s target date of 2010 is five years ahead of the deadline for the Millennium Development Goal – set at a UN summit in New York in 2000 – of achieving universal primary education.

UNDP said the education system in Equatorial Guinea is still recovering from the legacy of 11 years of dictatorship that ended in 1990. But it added that the country’s vast oil and gas reserves have brought “remarkable economic growth over the past decade, averaging 19 per cent a year,” and the opportunity to use that money to help the majority of the population still living in poverty.

 

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