fbpx ADB's Focus on Education: Promoting Equity | Asian Development Bank

Education

Most developing countries in Asia and the Pacific have increased primary education enrollment rates in the last three decades, but daunting challenges remain. ADB is assisting its developing member countries achieve the goal of quality education for all.

Promoting Equity

Students show off their artworks during a class at a school in Rarotonga, Cook Islands.
Students show off their artworks during a class at a school in Rarotonga, Cook Islands. Photo: Eric Sales/ADB

Unequal access to education in the region remains pronounced, beginning at the basic education level, and compounded at the secondary level and above. Children who are unable to go to school—even in countries with high enrollments—tend to be from disadvantaged population groups.

Girls and women are at a disadvantage in education in most DMCs, as are children and youth who

  • are from poor families or families at risk of sliding back into poverty as seen during the COVID-19 pandemic,
  • live in rural and remote areas,
  • belong to ethnic and linguistic minorities,
  • have disabilities, and/or
  • are refugees or migrants.

Inclusive education calls for strategies quite different from simply expanding the mainstream education system. For example, education scholarships and stipends linked with conditional cash transfer programs have produced positive impacts, particularly when targeted at girls or poor households. Such programs foster inclusiveness and equity across the education system, and are widely acknowledged as key factors in advancing economic growth in DMCs.

Related resources

Pages

Other Education Issues in Asia and the Pacific

Asia is a global success story when it comes to educating children. Overall, 9 out of 10 children in the region, since 2018, are enrolled in primary school. Significant progress in attaining quality education was globally reported during the first quarter of 2020. For a continent that contained two-thirds of world’s out-of-school children in the 1970s, the progress has been nothing short of remarkable.

Basic and Secondary Education

Basic and Secondary Education

Primary education enrollment averages around 90% in the region. However, this high rate masks serious deficiencies in student retention, quality of education, and foundational literacy and numeracy acquired.

Higher Education

Higher Education

Higher education contributes significantly to the technological and innovation capacity and overall competitiveness of developing member countries (DMCs). As such, the region's fast-growing economies are exerting pressure on higher education.

Technical and Vocational Education

Technical and Vocational Education

Developing Asia and the Pacific provides a rich array of technical and vocational education and training (TVET) experiences, but too often these have recorded only modest results.

Education Reform

Education Reform

In an expanding and diversifying sector, developing member countries (DMCs) need to implement reforms to strengthen governance. In particular, reforms should focus on attracting and developing talents of education workforce, improving governance and accountability, and improving financing and system efficiency.

Sustainable Education Financing

Sustainable Education Financing

Sustained investments in education are important for the productivity and resilience of economies. Funding for education is provided not only by the state, but also by households and the private sector.