Global Monitoring Report 2012

GMR 2012 Summary

Key Media Messages: Putting Education to Work, 2012

This is the tenth Global Monitoring Report on Education for UNESCO – the primary

Young people don’t have the skills they and their countries need

ITACEC A fifth of 15-24 year olds in developing countries have not even completed primary schooland need a second chance to learn basic skills for solid employment.
ITACEC In a time of global economic downturn, countries are wasting young people’s potential when they need them the most
ITACEC Education must prepare young people for work, giving them relevant skills for the labour-market.
ITACEC We must also help children arriving of age now to go to school and stay the course so they don’t end up in the same situation.
ITACEC We will never break the cycle of poverty if we do not include the most vulnerable – women, and the urban and rural poor – in skills training. 
ITACEC Aid for skills development is on the decrease whilst populations are on the increase. The skills deficit for many young people is getting worse and must be tackled urgently
ITACEC Investing in education and skills training is good for business. $1 invested pays back tenfold in economic growth

global reference for countries’ progress on achieving Education for All


THE PROBLEM: Young people don’t have the skills they and their countries need

ITACEC A fifth of 15-24 year olds in developing countries have not even completed primary school and need a second chance to learn basic skills for solid employment. This is equivalent to more than the entire population of Brazil.
ITACEC This situation is not going to improve anytime soon. A quarter of a billion children of primary school age todayin school or out of it, cannot even read the most basic words.
ITACEC Current second chance programmes only scratch the surface of the needs out there. Seven countries with the largest second chance programmes today only reach less than a sixth of the young people in need.
ITACEC Countries are wasting young people’s potential when they need them the most
ITACEC One in eight young people are unemployed, a problem particularly acute in rich countries. Over one in four have had no option but to take jobs being paid less than US$1.25 per day.
ITACEC We will never break the cycle of poverty if we do not include the most vulnerable – women, and the urban and rural poor – in skills training. 
    Leaving this unaddressed is shortsighted. It can worsen inequalities and contribute to  social unrest as in the Arab World and Europe
ITACEC The urban youth population is larger than it has ever been and growing. In a fifth of countries analysed, young people in urban areas have less education than those in rural areas. Without skills, they are trapped in working poverty.
    The vast majority of the world’s poor live in rural areas. They, and particularly women, are heavily dependent on dwindling small holder farming, seasonal casual labour, and are highly vulnerable to destructive climate change. They are in desperate need for skills that will help them avert the worse forms of social and economic deprivation. 
ITACEC This problem is getting worse
ITACEC The youth population is the biggest it has ever been. Sub-Saharan Africa’s population is growing faster than enrolment. Progress to universal primary education has stagnated for the past four years.
    Countries are feeling the pressure under the financial crisis. Aid decreased for the first time last year at a time when EFA needs it the most.
    57 million jobs are needed by 2020 in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Arab States and South and West Asia just to stop unemployment rates rising above current levels. There are 29 million fewer jobs globally than before the economic crisis began and the informal sector is providing the most opportunities for jobs. 

The Solution

We must urgently help give young people a second chance to learn skills for work
We must also help children at risk of not attending or completing basic education from ending up in the same situation.


  • All hurdles stopping children from going to school and completing the cycle  must be tackled
  • So that children are not forced to choose between attending school, working or family commitments, schools should operate more flexibly and offer open and distance learning.

DONORS, GOVERNMENTS& the PRIVATE SECTOR should invest in skills training for high returns.
Investing in skills training is profitable.  Evidence indicates that investing $1 in education and skills training brings a return of $10-$15.

  • There are some quick fixes: 
  • US$3 billion of aid to post-secondary education is being spent on scholarships in developed countries and could be re-directed back to core skills in developing countries.
  • Funding to education should go where it’s needed most: Money spent on upper education is wasted if the vast majority have not yet even been enrolled in primary school
  • With economic downturn, there are new and innovative sources of funding with huge potential too
  • Emerging Economies must share their knowledge on skills development and growth with developing countries.
  • Countries have income in their own backyard:
  • Maximising income from 17 resource-rich countries could raise up to US$5 billion for education and skills training– enough to reach 86% of their out of school children.
  • The private sector should make the improvement of education part of their own objectives as they stand to benefit the most from a skilled workforce.
  • The private sector’s contributions, made up in the vast majority by just five major corporations, total just 5% of official aid. As key beneficiaries of an educated, skilled population, they must step forward alongside governments and donors to help fill the funding gap.

Education must prepare young people for work

  • Up until lower secondary school, children should be taught core skills under a common curriculum.
  • Schools must recognize that a fundamental purpose of education is to prepare young people for work. Especially at secondary education level, courses must provide skills that relate to gaps in the labour market.

The disadvantaged must be included in skills training so inequalities do not get worse.

  • Skills training are not enough on its own to tackle disadvantages. Neither is microfinance or social protection programmes. Put together as a package, however, they can help young people break free of their disadvantages and poverty for good.
  • The urban poor need foundation skills first and foremost. They also need help to link up with jobs, and employers. Access to apprenticeships need to be open to everyone, especially the disadvantaged. Young people stepping up to start their own businesses need finance and business skills support, with start-up credit to realize their ambitions
  • Rural poor need foundation skills first and foremost.
      • Those engaged in smallholder farming need to be taught how to farm more from less and to cope with climate change. IT and marketing skills can help them increase productivity and sell their produce at competitive rates.
      • With not enough farm land to go around, those keen on becoming entrepreneurs need support learning skills to start their own businesses so they can be encouraged to remain in rural areas.


  • Help us spread the word –  If you have influence on policy makers, or work in the area, go to our website where you can find the key statistics, and pre-prepared presentations, info graphics, photos and more to help communicate what the biggest challenges are today for EFA, and where policy attention needs to focus.
  • Go to our website –, follow us on twitter for the most up to date findings on @EFA Report or using the hashtag #Youth Skills Work. Join our tweet chat on the launch
  • Join our campaign - Give your voice through blogs, tweets, photos and audio to inform an online presentation we will deliver to Ministers of Education around the world. Download our web banner, join our tweet chat on the 16th October all day, and join in the conversation on #Youth Skills Work.


  • One in five young people – 200m - have not completed primary school – rising to as much as one in three in Africa. This is equivalent to the population of Brazil
  • At least 250 million children are not able to read, write or count well even for those who have spent at least four years in school
  • 71 million are not enrolling in secondary school
  • One in five are dropping out of secondary school in Europe
  • 160 million adults in rich countries are not literate enough to read a newspaper or apply for a job
  • Over a quarter of all young workers - are paid less than US$1.25 per day.
  • One in eight young people are unemployed
  • There are one billion young people in developing countries alone
  • There are about 29 million fewer jobs now than before the economic crisis started.
  • 57 million new jobs are needed by 2020in just three regions (Sub-Saharan Africa, South and West Asia and the Arab States) just to stop unemployment in these regions getting even worse.


  • $1 investment in education could bring a $10-15 return in economic growth
  • Universal enrolment in lower secondary education would cost US$8 billion
  • Indonesia has successfully rolled out second chance programmes at $300 a child.
  • Some of the US$3 billion currently being spent on scholarships in rich countries could be spent on providing secondary education for disadvantaged young people
  • For the amount it costs for one Nepalese student to study on scholarship in Japan, as many as 229 young people could go to secondary education in Nepal.
  • Maximising income from natural resources in 17 resource-rich countries could raise an additional US$5 billion for education – enough to offer a second chance for 86% of their out of school children.

Second Chance Programmes:

  • MALAWI, where 85% of its population live in rural areas, and only half of children manage to complete primary school, has established second chance skills training with great success. It has already reached 10,000 students and is going to be rolled out nationally this year. Of the first to benefit from the course, over half either completed the course or left to return to primary school. 
  • Indonesia has successfully rolled out second chance programmes at $300 a child.
  • Peru: PRO Jovenes programmes in Peru, also seen across Latin America and in Indonesia, combine training in the classroom with life skills, work experience in basic trades, counseling and job search assistance.
  • South Africa: 2 days of skills training per month are included as part of 1.5 m jobs that have been created by the government lasting just 100 days each.
  • Africa Camfed’s rural training with microfinance and peer mentoring: Camfed targets poor rural girls with business management skills, a grant, micro-loans and peer mentoring. 93% of the new businesses created by the young women turn a profit.

Tackling Skills Training for the Disadvantaged

  • Egypt and rural training for girls: One NGO, Ishraq, in Egypt tackles gender inequalities directly, liaising with rural families, local leaders, and communities to include them in the rationale behind setting up literacy and numeracy skills for girls. Of the first graduates to emerge from the programme, over nine out of ten girls passed their final exams.
  • India and training for poor urban youth. India has recognized the importance of skills training to keep up its economic growth, and aims to train 500 million by 2022, prioritizing its urban poor working in the informal sector. While not yet implemented, the courses are designed to be 6 months long and include apprenticeships with the private sector in on-the-job training.
  • South Sudan uses radio to teach English to remote communities

Unemployment V Informal Labour

  • In Spain, one in three young people are unemployed.  (compared to one in five in Europe)
  • In Greece and Italy, over 40% of 15-29-year-olds were still unemployed five years after leaving education.
  • Brazil and Cameroon: One in five of young people in the labour market in Brazil is unemployed. However, in Cameroon, the poor cannot afford not to work and two thirds of the rural young people have jobs, but only in low-paid, farming work

Microfinance and Skills training enhance opportunities for improved livelihoods

  • In Chile cash transfers and training are given to poor women with little education to help them find work
  • Bangladesh BRAC’s rural training with microfinance/marketing: BRAC gives poor rural families an asset which they can earn a living from, such as a cow. They also provide them with training in microfinance and marketing to make the most of their new belonging.

Technical Skills

  • In Peru, the Jovenes programme combines skills training in specific trades and classroom training, increasing women’s chances of finding work by up to 20%

Work Placements/Apprenticeships have the potential to improve employment

  • Germany and Egypt’s Apprenticeships: Dual Apprenticeships have been set up both in Germany and Egypt with success. Both are adapted to their own situations, but involve linking education, vocational training and businesses to combine practical with theoretical training. Both have had huge impact. Germany has 7% unemployment to the UK’s 22%, for example. A third of the graduates from Egypt’s apprenticeship programme found immediate employment.

Plan for increased Secondary School intake and make it flexible:

  • Zambia wasn’t prepared for increased secondary enrolment: In the Zambia, where secondary school enrolment increased from 27% to 72% from 1999 to 2010, it could not cope with the pace of the change and, in 2006; still only a third of its schools had teachers able to teach the relevant grades.
  • Help reduce drop outs with flexible learning: In the Philippines distance learning helps those in farm-work, with illnesses or family responsibilities continue their education. In India, its open learning scheme is one of the largest of its kind, reaching 700,000 and specifically targeting the disadvantaged such as lower castes and scheduled tribes.

Investing in skills training pays off:

  • Korea’s success: The state upgraded the skills of the whole population by achieving first universal primary, then secondary education, and then focused on industries that could deliver better lives for those people, both jobs that need lower skilled people and jobs that are more knowledge intensive.  In short, the state played a key role in matching skills supply to demand. By tying its education and training policies to plans for economic development the country enjoyed a 1.7% GDP growth rate since the 1970s.
  • Ethiopia’s plans for success: Ethiopia has a Five Year plan to achieve universal secondary enrolment by 2020, and aims to expand skills training for all, ensuring that they reach rural areas. At the same time, it plans to create jobs in micro and small enterprises to make the most of its newly skilled population. With this plan, Ethiopia aims to achieve middle income status by 2025.

The Private Sector can play a significant role

  • The MasterCard Foundation funds skills training programmes. It extends secondary school provision, provides skills opportunities to out-of-school youth and links youth with jobs. Some of this support is targeted at disadvantaged young people. With an annual budget of US$20.5 million providing commitments over four to ten years, it is one of the largest international foundations working on these issues

Training Funds can provide additional funding to meet needs

    • Training Funds – Nepal’s Employment Fund pools finances from taxes and levis on private companies, funds from aid donors and more which the government then disburses and makes sure it also targets the disadvantaged.
    • TUNISIA: Tunisia set up a training fund in 1999 and has reached over a quarter of all unemployed young people with skills development.