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Primary Education south of the Sahara

Forty percent of children aged 6 to 11 still do not attend school in spite of the tremendous efforts made over the last 50 years.

Although about 120 million children are enrolled in schools half of them drop out shortly afterwards.

Girls are particularly disadvantaged: they are less likely to start school and they are more frequently removed from school before they have acquired the basic skills of reading, writing and arithmetic which they need to shape their own future.

Someone with these basic skills who has acquired basic information which enables her to survive creatively in her own community is better able to protect her own health (e.g. against AIDS), is more likely to find employment and is more willing to make a contribution to society. People without primary education have fewer chances of improving their long-term living conditions or defending their own interests.

Hence primary education is not an end in itself:
it is the pre-condition for any development process.