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‘One in 12 young people in East Asia lack basic skills’

One in 12 young people in East Asia and the Pacific fail to complete primary school and lack basic skills for work, a report said on Monday.

According to UNESCO’s 2012 Education for All Global Monitoring Report, more than 28 million people aged 15 to 24 in the region have not completed primary school, highlighting the urgent need to invest in skills for young people.

In East Asia and the Pacific, despite the rapid progress in terms of secondary education enrollment, 10 million teenagers are still out of school, missing out on vital skills for future employment, according to the report.

The report showed that young people in poor countries end up trapped in jobs earning poverty line wages. In Cambodia, for instance, over 80 percent of the youth have only primary education and two-thirds of those with secondary education earn under $1.25 a day.

The Education for All Global Monitoring Report called on governments to invest in young people’s skills to boost their economic growth, estimating that every $1 spent on a young person’s education yields $10-$15 in economic growth.

“We’ve seen it work: Republic of Korea went from a poor to a wealthy country in just 30 years thanks in part to its investment in skills development of young people,” the report said.

Published by UNESCO, the Education for All Global Monitoring Report is an authoritative reference that aims to inform global progress towards goals set at the World Education Forum in 2000.

By Oh Kyu-wook (