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The UN’s own goal

An obsession with primary education has backfired

By Clare Lockhart   December 2012

Classes at the Behzad Gallery, Herat, Afghanistan (photo: AFP/Getty Images)

Since the launch of the UN’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) over a decade ago, education gurus, ministers and aid officials have worked to get every child in the world into primary school. This focus has come at a price. The neglect of secondary and vocational training has translated into millions of people unequipped to participate in the work force. As a consequence, young peoples’ expectations do not match economic reality, leaving them marginalised and unemployed, and societies without the human…

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