Education Report Roundup

Equity in Developing Countries

By Kathleen Kennedy Manzo — June 04, 2008 1 min read

As developing countries make headway in providing universal primary education, the quality of that schooling is coming under scrutiny.

In contrast to their better-off peers, the most disadvantaged pupils are often left to learn in dilapidated buildings with few resources and underqualified or beleaguered teachers, according to a survey by the statistical arm of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization.

Many of the students in those schools—particularly in villages and rural areas—tend to be unprepared, unmotivated, and poorly behaved. Those shortcomings often complicate teachers’ efforts and pupils’ success in school, the survey from the Paris-based UNESCO found.

“The fact that pupils with a ‘better’ home background were in schools with more resources, less behavioral problems and higher levels of pupil motivation showed the strong effect of social class on the educational systems,” the report says.

The survey of teachers and officials was conducted in 11 countries: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, India, Malaysia, Paraguay, Peru, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Tunisia, and Uruguay.

A version of this article appeared in the June 04, 2008 edition of Education Week