The State of the World's Children 2004

Primary education

Ahmed, Manzoor et al., 'Primary Education for All: Learning from the BRAC experience', Project ABEL: Advancing Basic Education and Literacy, Washington, D.C., 1993.
This case study examines primary education in Bangladesh and describes the principles, structure and goals of the non-formal primary education programme implemented by the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC). The BRAC programme provides education for the most disadvantaged groups in the country. The study assesses the strengths and weaknesses of the programme with an eye to replicating it in other countries willing to explore non-formal primary education, especially for girls.

Bruns, Barbara, Alain Mingat and Ramahtra Rakotomalala, 'Achieving Universal Primary Education by 2015: A Chance for every child', World Bank, Washington, D.C., 2003.
This book assesses the likelihood of achieving universal primary school completion by 2015, the target date for the Millennium Development Goals. It investigates how far countries have come thus far in meeting this goal and evaluates the policy reforms and funding commitments necessary to spur progress. Statistical tables on educational indicators and financial resources are included.

Chowdhury, Kowsar P., 'Literacy and Primary Education', World Bank, Washington, D.C., 1996.
This paper underscores universal primary education’s key role in eradicating illiteracy in the developing world. The paper examines data on literacy against such variables as gender, age group, and urban/rural populations, suggests measures to overcome illiteracy at the primary level and recommends actions for governments and donor agencies. A discussion of adult literacy training is also included.

Colclough, Christopher, with Keith M. Lewin, 'Educating All the Children: Strategies for primary schooling in the South', Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1993.
This book reiterates the critical role of quality primary schooling for achieving national development. It analyses reasons for continuing underenrolment in developing countries and proposes forward-looking strategies to reverse this trend. Using case studies from diverse regions to illustrate both the benefits and the risks of educational reform, the authors champion policies for increasing access to schooling and outline the steps required of both North and South.

Department for International Development, 'The Challenge of Universal Primary Education: Strategies for achieving the international development targets', DFID, London, 2001.
This publication is divided into six sections, each focusing on a particular dimension of universal primary education. It emphasizes that universal primary education is the central commitment of Education For All. It further discusses the concept of education as a human right, the implications of a human rights-based approach for girls, obligations of governments and the international community to secure universal primary education, and lessons learned and best practices for future programming.
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Floro, Maria and Joyce M. Wolf, 'The Economic and Social Impacts of Girls’ Primary Education in Developing Countries', Academy for Educational Development, Advancing Basic Education and Literacy Project, USAID, 1990.
This publication explores the accumulated evidence of the importance of girls’ primary education worldwide on individual and national prosperity. The paper investigates the link between educating girls and their later economic productivity and influence on the family, community and national growth and development. This paper is often cited in other publications on the necessity of girls’ education.

Lockheed, Marlaine and Adriaan M. Verspoor, 'Improving Primary Education in Developing Countries', World Bank, Washington, D.C., 1993.
This book argues that primary education systems in the developing world have failed to help students acquire the necessary literacy and numeracy skills to compete in the modern labour force. Through a review of the literature and donors’ experiences, the authors provide a glimpse into primary education systems in the developing world and argue that the children who have been traditionally underrepresented – girls, the poor and those from rural communities – must have greater access to education and be encouraged to enrol.

Mehrotra, Santosh and Jan Vandemoortele, 'Cost and Financing of Primary Education: Options for reform in sub-Saharan Africa', UNICEF, New York, 1997.
This publication notes that sub-Saharan Africa was the only region in the world to suffer a decline in gross primary school enrolment ratios in the 1980s, and that the 1990s saw only slight improvement. The authors assess the substantial costs of achieving universal primary education in sub-Saharan Africa and advocate for reforms that will improve cost-effectiveness. Methods of obtaining better value for money and diversifying financing are reviewed.

Rugh, Andrea, 'Starting Now: Strategies for Helping Girls Complete Primary', SAGE Technical Report no. 1, Academy for Educational Development, Washington, D.C., 2000.
This study argues that successful investment in girls’ primary education must integrate access with quality. The most cost-effective way to expand access is to improve programme quality. The paper analyses cultural and social influences on attitudes to girls’ education, evaluates initiatives that encourage girls’ participation, and presents promising strategies and models. Case studies from Egypt, Honduras, Mali and Pakistan are included.
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United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, 'Wasted Opportunities: When schools fail – repetition and drop-out in primary schools', Education for All, Strategies and Trends 1998, UNESCO, Paris, 1998.
This publication explores primary school efficiency as it relates to the Education For All goals. It provides data on trends in repetition and dropout, describes the ways in which low learning achievement and poor school completion rates adversely affect social and national development, and considers ways to make schools more efficient.
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