Parents are the key to how far children go on their educational path in Africa. According to a Gallup poll taken in 2013, among 29 African countries, the level of education a child reaches is directly associated with the level of education his parents attained. An article in Gallup World, written by Magali Rheault, states that if a child’s parents attended primary school, it is more likely that their child will attend or graduate from a secondary school.
Africans with two parents who did not complete at least primary education are the worst off in terms of their own academic achievement. However, if even one parent has a primary education, the likelihood of his or her child completing secondary education more than doubles. Whether this parent is the mother or father tends to influence their children’s outcomes differently. Africans are more likely to have some secondary-level schooling if the mother is the educated parent (56%) rather than the father (47%).
This creates what is called the “Mother Effect” since a mother’s education level positively affects both boys and girls. The future of African education is relying on the ability of girls to attend school in order to perpetuate education for the most children, both boys and girls.
Elsewhere in Africa, in the slums of Nibera, when a 2012 Ivey Business School graduate traveled to Nairobi to volunteer time teaching in the slums there, she noticed a high rate of absenteeism for young girls. Jade Lai asked why this was happening and discovered that the young girls did not have access to sanitary napkins, and so were unable to attend school when menstruating. Lai went straight to work on a non-profit called the Wasichana Fund, named for the Swahili word for “girl” ,reports Adela Talbot of the Western News, a publication of Western University, Canada. The fund now prospers with the help of donations, and has added health classes to its mission, as well. The organization is hoping that attendance rates and academic improvement will occur as a result of the program.
A growing number of Somali-Norwegian students are being sent back to Somalia, Kenya, Egypt, and the UK to attend school. Parents are saying that the schools in Norway are not teaching their children enough. The Norwegian Institute for Social Research cites the following points as reasons the parents have voiced dissatisfaction:
- Somali children do not speak Norwegian well and are seen as poor students because of this
- Their children are not being challenged
- Families can have a higher standard of living in their home country
- They wish to escape child welfare’s interference
- They wish to strengthen their child’s cultural identity