Recently, the Center for Universal Education at the Brookings Institution released the findings of the highly anticipated Arab World Learning Barometer. The barometer measures the quality of education and learning by examining four areas: getting into school, staying in school, whether students are learning basic skills while in school, and the link between education and youth unemployment.
The results were not positive.
While children are enrolling and finishing primary school in the Arab region at a growing rate, they are not learning. Based on countries where data is available the results are stark:
- Fifty-six percent of primary students and 48 percent of secondary students are not meeting basic learning levels.
- The learning crisis affects boys significantly more than girls. The share of boys in school that do not meet basic learning levels is higher than girls in almost every country in the region with available data.
- On average, rural children do not perform as well as their urban counterparts, and overlapping disparities based on income, gender and geographic location create stark divisions.
As the report states, “The learning crisis and lack of skills acquisition among Arab youth in the region have direct links to the wider unemployment challenges in the Middle East and North Africa.” And at Tomorrow’s Youth Organization, we recognized this deficit and have taken concrete action to do our part.
In partnership with the Abdel Hameed Shoman Foundation, TYO is providing world-class early childhood education programs to the children of Nablus, Palestine while also providing university students and graduates the skills they require – but did not receive in school – to enter the workforce.
We look forward to updating you on our progress throughout the year as we move the barometer toward learning.
-Humaira is the Country Director at TYO-Palestine