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Formal education is a relatively recent institution in the history of mankind, dating back a mere two centuries. The recognition that education relates to a country’s development is even more recent, dating back just a few decades. Non-formal education of course existed since time immemorial in the form of philosopher–student or master–apprentice relationships, and some European universities date back to the thirteenth century. But organized schooling where children of a certain age were obliged to attend school started as late as the nineteenth century in England.
The link between education and economic development was identified by the so-called “Human Capital School” originating at the University of Chicago in the early 1960s (Schultz 1961a; Becker 1964). According to early versions of human capital theory, expenditure on education is an investment with many similarities to investment in machines. National resources are used while the student is in school, in the form of direct outlays to education and forgone labor earnings. But later in life more-educated workers contribute more to national output than less-educated workers. The discounted difference between the cost and benefit flows related to education can lead to estimates of the profitability of investment in human capital.
This book documents poverty systematically for the world's indigenous peoples in developing regions in Asia, Africa and Latin America. The volume compiles results for roughly 85 percent of the world's indigenous peoples. It draws on nationally representative data to compare trends in countries' poverty rates and other social indicators with those for indigenous sub-populations and provides comparable data for a wide range of countries all over the world. It estimates global poverty numbers and analyzes other important development indicators, such as schooling, health and social protection. Provocatively, the results show a marked difference in results across regions, with rapid poverty reduction among indigenous (and non-indigenous) populations in Asia contrasting with relative stagnation - and in some cases falling back - in Latin America and Africa.
Nearly half the people of the world today are under 25 years of age. Nine out of ten of these young people live in developing countries. More importantly, the majority of the developing world's poor is children and youth, defined either as being under the age of eighteen years (based on the 1989 United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child) or up to fourteen years (based on the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) framework). Although significant progress has been made in reducing poverty worldwide, the fact remains that most of the MDG outcomes are not likely to be met unless greater attention is paid to the next generation (World Bank 2005). Children are the hardest hit by poverty. More than half a billion children (40%) in developing countries are living on less than $1 a day (UNICEF 2005).
There are 115 million primary-school-aged children not enrolled in school, the majority (76%) are in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia (UNESCO 2005). Another 150 million children start primary school but drop out before they have completed four years of education. Nearly half of the children in the least developed countries of the world do not have access to primary education. More than 45 percent of children in west and central Africa are out of school. For south Asia, this figure is 42 million.
For every 100 boys out of school, 117 girls miss out on primary education.
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