World Cup 2018: School report card on Group H countries Colombia, Japan, Poland and Senegal

Juan Cuadrado With Children From His Foundation In Brazil
Juventus star Juan Cuadrado with children from his foundation in Colombia (Facebook / Juan Cuadrado,

Celebrities, Right to education

Every day during the opening week of the World Cup in Russia, we're looking at the education situation in each of the countries taking part. Today it's Group H.

Every four years, the eyes of the world are focused for a month on the football World Cup. 

It’s a chance for people to see games featuring countries they may not know much about. Today we wrap up our series with look at some of the education facts and stats from the four countries competing in Group H.


Education system: compulsory for 10 years from age 5-14.

Pre-primary enrolment (age 3-5): 50%.

Primary school completion: 90%.

Student-teacher ratio: 24 in primary, 26 in secondary.

Literacy rate for 15-24-year-olds: 99%.

ISSUES AND REFORMS: Child labour, especially in rural areas, keeps 850,000 children out of school. Last year schools were shut for over a month when teachers went on strike to demand more funding for school maintenance, supplies, student meals and salaries. 

STAR FACT: Juventus winger Juan Cuadrado has his own foundation that helps poor and disadvantaged children in Colombia to overcome their problems through sport and culture.


Education system: compulsory for 9 years from age 6-14.

Pre-primary enrolment (age 3-5): 86%.

Primary school completion: 100%.

Student-teacher ratio: 16 in primary, 11 in secondary.

ISSUES AND REFORMS: Prime Minister Shinzo Abe promised in October to offer free preschool places for every child aged three to five – and for children aged two and under from low-income families. Investment in education was one of his key campaign promises. 

STAR FACT: Borussia Dortmund midfielder Shinji Kagawa became the first Asian player to join the Common Goal initiative, where players donate 1% of their salary to charity projects.

Senegal Global Partnership For Education 2

Senegal has increased its share of spending on education (Global Partnership for Education)


Education system: compulsory for 9 years from age 7-15.

Pre-primary enrolment (age 3-6): 67%.

Primary school completion: 98%.

Student-teacher ratio: 10 in primary, 9 in secondary.

Literacy rate for 15-24-year-olds: 100%.

ISSUES AND REFORMS: Poland announced last year that a shake-up of the education system would begin in September. It includes abolishing the middle school system, closing 7000 schools and integrating students into elementary schools. About 9000 teachers will lose their jobs.

STAR FACT: Jakub Błaszczykowski – who plays with Wolfsburg in Germany – had to overcome huge childhood trauma after his mother was murdered by his father. He launched a foundation that helps children in need with their development and social inclusion.


Education system: compulsory for 11 years from age 6-16.

Pre-primary enrolment (age 3-5): 16%.

Primary school completion: 62%.

Student-teacher ratio: 31 in primary, 20 in secondary.

Literacy rate for 15-24-year-olds: 56%.

ISSUES AND REFORMS: Since 2006 Senegal has increased its investment in education to the point where it’s now 24% of its domestic spending. In February, it co-hosted the Global Partnership for Education funding conference – and became the first developing country to become a donor to GPE’s work in supporting some of the world’s poorest nations. 

STAR FACT: Liverpool winger Sadio Mane has donated $260,000 to build a secondary school in his home village of Bambalay. His uncle read out a message from Sadio to local people which said: “Education is very important. This is what will enable you to have a good career.”

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