The Post-2015 Development Agenda: time to learn and connect

Alicia Mitchell, District Administration, Jan 28, 2013
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Though rates have varied a lot, access to education in Africa has been improving. But it has not proven to be a panacea. "The Overseas Development Institute (ODI) has found that over half of the global extremely poor live in a household where the head does, in fact, have some degree of education. This means that education in and of itself is not currently a guaranteed path out of poverty." Of course, bobody should have presented it as such; education is a necessary but not sufficient condition. That's why it's worrisome to see access to ICT being portrayed in the same light. While it's true "an outlook that fails to recognise the essential role ICT can play in both economic and personal growth is unhelpful," access to ICT is again a necessary but not sufficient condition. The disparity between rich and poor counters the beneficial impacts of education and access to ICT, and these cannot be offered in lieu of a general committment to social equity, not in Africa, nor anywhere else.

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