N’DJAMENA, Chad — The 2015 World Economic Forum (WEF) revealed global progress in closing the gender gap in education. According to the latest WEF Global Gender Gap Index, 10 countries have fully closed the gap in both the Health and Survival and the Educational Attainment subindexes. Despite global progress, Chad signifies a massive gender gap in education and indicates how much the country lags behind other nations.
Chad, a country in north central Africa, has the largest gender gap in education. Chad scored 0.591 in the Educational Attainment category in the WEF Global Gender Gap Index, ranking last out of the 145 countries analyzed.
In Chad, where a girl can legally marry at age 15, 72.3 percent of girls marry before the age of 18. Such a high rate of early marriages results in lower rates of completion of secondary school. According to the UN Human Development Index, only 1.7 percent of women in Chad have some secondary education, compared to 9.9 percent of men.
The lack of education and early marriages have significant consequences. Chad has an adolescent birthrate of 15.2 percent—higher than the 14.9 percent of parliament seats held by women.
Fortunately, UNICEF has partnered with Educate a Child (EAC) to galvanize Chad’s government into action to make quality education accessible to every child. UNICEF aims to strengthen basic education to benefit almost one million children. The organization plans to accomplish their lofty goal through educating teachers, providing learning materials, and building classrooms.
So far, UNICEF is proud of their completion of the Quinze Ans school of Moundou, a coed school that helps children living in poverty, including the girls UNICEF calls “especially disadvantaged.”
UNICEF’s recent partnership with Educate a Child will also alleviate the gender gap. EAC has developed a system of incentives to encourage girls’ education by providing “education kits, support to parent teachers’ associations, and catering for school feeding.”
– Sabrina Yates