Classroom in Burkina Faso: The 'average' African primary school classroom has 41 pupils and one teacher. (Photo/ Jessica Lea/DFID).

Crowded Classrooms: In Some African Countries, It’s 60 Pupils Or More For One Teacher

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EDUCATION in Africa has seen an impressive surge over the past twenty-five years, driven in large part by the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) agenda.

Between 1990 and 2012, the number of children enrolled in primary schools in Africa more than doubled, from 62 million to 149 million children.

In sub-Saharan Africa, 15 countries have abolished school fees since 2000, enabling more children to attend primary school, according to a recent education report by the Africa-America Institute (AAI).

But quality has not kept up with demand; in some cases it is so dire that pupils in school are not much better off than those who missed school.

Rising enrollment rates have drastically outpaced an increase in education funding, resulting in shortages of instructional materials and supplies, poorly stocked libraries and overuse of school facilities.

The starkest reality is in the severe shortage of trained teachers in much of the continent, impacting overall learning outcomes. In 2012, the average pupil/teacher ratio in primary school was 41:1, according to data from UNESCO. That statistic has not changed since 1999.

For primary education alone, one million new teachers need to be recruited in Africa to achieve the universal primary education target, says the AAI education report.

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