World Bank Report: Not Educating Girls Costs Countries Trillions
UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe
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The report notes that, even though many countries have reached universal primary education over the past 20 years, with girls’ enrollment at the primary level in developing countries rivaling that of boys, larger benefits of education would come from completing secondary school.

The publication underlines that investments in the education system are especially crucial in regions such as Sub-Saharan Africa where only 40% of girls complete lower secondary school.

11 July 2018: A World Bank report indicates that limited educational opportunities for girls and barriers to completing 12 years of education are costing countries between US$15 trillion and US$30 trillion in lost lifetime productivity and earnings. The report highlights that the positive effects of secondary school education for girls include near-elimination of child marriage.

The publication titled, ‘Missed Opportunities: The High Cost of Not Educating Girls,’ reports that fewer than two-thirds of girls in low-income countries complete primary school, and only one in three girls completes lower secondary school. SDG target 4.1 calls for ensuring that all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education leading to relevant and effective learning outcomes by 2030.

On average, the report notes, women who have a secondary education are more likely to work and they earn almost twice as much as those with no education. Secondary school education for girls also brings the near elimination of child marriage, lowers fertility rates by one-third in countries with high population growth, and reduces child mortality and malnutrition. In addition, the report highlights that women with secondary education are less likely to experience intimate partner violence, report higher levels of psychological well-being, and have healthier children who are more likely to go to school and learn.

Over the past 20 years, many countries have reached universal primary education, with girls’ enrollment at the primary level in developing countries rivaling that of boys. However, the report notes, larger benefits of education would come from completing secondary school.

In order to reap the full benefits of education, the publication recommends that countries improve both access to and quality of education for girls, and implement policies to support healthy economic growth that will generate jobs for an expanding educated workforce. It underlines that investments in the education system are especially crucial in regions such as Sub-Saharan Africa, where only 40% of girls complete lower secondary school. [World Bank Press Release] [Publication: Missed Opportunities: The High Cost of Not Educating Girls]

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