Africa’s Learning Crisis: What Needs to Honor?

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By: Abdiaziz Ali


The world has celebrated the International Day of Education that the United Nations General Assembly adopted on December 3, 2018, proclaiming January 24 as an International Day of Education. In January of 2020, in recognizing the role of education for bringing global peace and sustainable development theme of Education Day was ‘’ Learning for All: People, Planet, Prosperity, and Peace’’.

This day’s celebrations have a different meaning for the world countries while working to implement and realizing sustainable development goal 4, a goal that has become the side talk of meaningful meetings the world holds. Many countries of the world, especially Sub-Saharan Africa who are struggling with political instability, corruption, and challenges of climate change, the goal of finding a good quality public education, will be tough for them.

The majority of the world’s millions of children who are  Out Of School live in Sub-Saharan countries. These children are forced to abandon schools while they are supposed to be in school as per the 2015 Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of Education For All. But this did not come true. In Sub-Saharan Africa, 91 million children are out of the learning environment because of the lack of commitment of their governments, which are being afflicted by poor governance, war, famine, and other artificial and natural factors.

Additionally, the lack of involvement of western countries in terms of financial pledges for MDGs to mobilize all ‘out of school’ children and introduce them into the learning environment has been a handicap and an impossible means to achieving the desired global goals of eradicating illiteracy. The out of school children narrations in sub-Saharan African counties needs immediate attention since it becomes a very  Chronic one.

Even if this region’s children got the opportunity to attend schools, still, they take the highest number of 617 million children and adolescents who aren’t proficient in reading and mathematics whether they attend a school or not. This shows a double problem that exists in this region; access and quality issues, which are factoring by what everyone who adores these regions’ Education can guess.


All thought its practicality is very doubtful; the International community recognized that to achieve the SDG4 agenda by 2030, the collective work of all developed and developing countries is necessary so that leaving no country behind. In the meantime, countries among Sub-Saharan who are getting a little support from the developed countries themselves are excluding its marginalized groups and implement a policy that favors a few of their populations.


In principle, we know that education is a fundamental human right. We know that without it, the lives of these disadvantaged groups and in any country could diminish if corrective measures are not being implemented to overturn the discombobulating political, social, and economic injustices. However, over the years, collective progress these groups favored by policies will make millions of more students into the classroom and will be a cause for celebration. But with so many challenges remaining to fix in the country–from concerns about whether the few groups are leaning to the educational exclusion to so many underprivileged children in their country yet–there is no room for complacency.



If international community including sub-Saharans from national level to villages, and schools, to achieve the same wave length for the implementation of education goal- SDG4, there are things they need to honor; 1) If western deep pocket countries and donors would have finance sub-Saharan region’s education system to complement their limited budget wrecked by corruption and fulfill the pledges made to achieve universal education could usher in a sustainable development goal by today; and it is not too late still to commit the same commitment they did in SDG4 to their last limit and without reservation.  2) Sub Saharan African countries need to show the world and lead by example in using whatever money you generate within your states to motivate those who are willing to donate your lands. 3) Perhaps there is also another important lesson in all of this. Maybe it’s about time Sub-Saharan countries made their own realistic and realizable goals instead of rushing to sign a goal that they cannot implement just because to secure the funds. Tell the planners of the international community that you can try with the same wave length and make heard your voice; then, no doubts you will be approached and bring home what you can achieve for good. 4) The last and fourth one is that United Nation Central platform that reviews the 2030 agendas including this education goal must request the detailed report of the SDG4 and send independent evaluators for the 2030 list so that this will safeguard the exclusion of minority groups who are in these African countries otherwise let alone see a clue of realizing the education goal; let alone The World is Off Track to Deliver its Education Commitments by 2030 narrations and the learning crises that the world faces now; it takes all into the deep oceans and where no one can even think about the celebration.