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October 2004

Magnitude of social disparities in primary education in Africa: Gender, geographical location, and family income in the context of Education for All (EFA)

by Alain Mingat
Department of Human Development
Africa Region, World Bank

The paper was presented at a joint UNICEF-World Bank Conference organized in June 2003 Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso

In order to achieve the goal universal primary education completion the bulk of the efforts to improve the rate of primary education completion must consist in including rural dwellers, and girls in particular. Here lies the priority for action for all those committed in achieving MDG one and two. This, in synthesis, the main message of he paper of Alain Mingat (Department of Human Development Africa Region, The World Bank) which explores the issues of disparity focusing on gender, geographical location (urban/rural and family income) and on the characteristics of the populations that will need to be included . The study, base on quantitative and qualitative analysis, indicates that disparities in primary schooling between urban and rural areas (in favor of urban dwellers) are on average two to three times greater than those existing between boys and girls (in favor of boys). The paper is recommended to all those, policy makers, practitioners, development workers and researchers, committed to achieve poverty reduction, food security and universal primary education. It is also an interesting reference for all the members of the ERP partnership since it provides an important contribution in shaping the policy agenda of the Education for rural people (ERP) flagship partnership initiative.

(Also available in French)

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