Tanzania and Burundi, for instance, have recorded a 99 per cent enrolment rate into the first grade of primary school.
The pertinent question is: How effective are these funds in retaining children in school?
Once enrolled, how long can the pupils be expected to last in the education system, and how many years of schooling, on average, are actually attained by East African pupils?
However, East Africa is faring badly a 9.1 years, equivalent to a pupil completing primary school, but dropping out of high school.
The average number of school years actually completed regionally was a mere 4.7 years.
The scenario is particularly dismal in Burundi, where on average pupils completed only 2.7 years of school.
According to the Global Education Digest 2010 published by Unesco, in the late 1990s, developing countries began to recover some of the educational ground lost in the 1980s, when enrolments stagnated or even declined in sub-Saharan Africa, East Asia and the Pacific, Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
In fact, the pace of progress accelerated since 2000 and if trends between 2000 and 2008 continue, the increase in school life expectancy in the current decade will be three times the level achieved in the 1970s.
In sub-Saharan Africa, school life expectancy nearly doubled from 4.4 years to 8.4 years in the past 30 years.
Despite this progress, the region has the lowest number of school years — almost half of the number of years in North America and Western Europe (16.0 years).
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As pointed out by the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report, primary education without transition into secondary and tertiary levels can only lock a country in a basic factor-driven economy.
n Burundi, for instance, government commitments to providing universal primary education appear to be directed towards enrolment.
From an enrolment rate of 36 per cent in 1999, the country recorded a full 99 per cent of girls and close to 100 per cent of boys enrolled in primary school nine years later.
School drop-out rates are high however, as only 45 per cent of Burundian children complete a full course of primary education.
Girls in Rwandan primary schools outnumber boys: 97 per cent of girls compared with 95 per cent of boys are enrolled in primary school.
Slightly more than half (54 per cent) of Rwandan children complete primary school.
Secondary school enrolment in the country stands at 21.9 per cent, the second lowest in the region.
he situation in Uganda is similar — 98 per cent of girls and 96 per cent of boys are currently enrolled in primary school.
Completion rate of primary school is 56 per cent. The transition rate into secondary school is low, however, with most pupils unable to progress past the final grade of primary school — only 21 per cent of girls and 22 per cent of boys make it into secondary school.
Kenya lags behind other East African countries in primary school enrolment — 82 per cent of girls and 81 per cent of boys of primary age are enrolled in school.
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