SEATTLE — Despite being one of the poorest and smallest countries in the world, education in Togo is a shining example of how international aid can make an enormous impact in the lives of those less fortunate. The literacy rate in 2015 was 60.9 percent, which is not only a huge improvement from past record, but also an impressively high number considering the size and economic challenges faced by Togo.
The education system in Togo is funded by the government and is required for children ages 6-12. After primary school, secondary education lasts for seven years, and upon completion, there are multiple universities such as the University of Lome, which offer a variety of degree programs.
The United Nations Development Programme created the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) initiative to help set goals for developing countries to improve the quality of life for citizens. The MDG for Togo featured a target to ensure that by 2015, all children regardless of gender will be able to complete primary school.
Togo did not achieve a 100 percent completion rate for primary school students, however, the 2015 MDI report detailed how Togo showed considerable improvement in its ability to utilize aid efficiently. There is a direct link between increased foreign aid, and improvement of primary education in Togo.
Education in Togo is continually improving because of help from foreign aid groups. In 2008, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) saw a need to intervene in Togo. Primary education in Togo costs a minimum of $4 per child per day. UNICEF worked in cooperation with the Togolese government and instituted a system of free primary education for all children.
In a nation where 69 percent of the population lives below the poverty line, earning less than $2 per day, free primary education is a blessing. Before 2008, it was all too common for families to not be able to afford the cost of their child’s schooling. This perpetuated the cycle of poverty and illiteracy. UNICEF’s efforts have had huge impacts on the lives of Togolese children, and the abolition of primary school fees provides hope for the future of Togo
UNICEF makes it easy to help ensure access to primary education for Togolese children, and its website details the costs of providing the necessities for education. For example, $1.50 is how much it costs to register a student for one year of primary school. For less than many people spend on their coffee every morning, it is possible to ensure that Togolese children have continued access to education.
– Tyler Troped