If Education for All decided football matches

Brazil will beat Argentina in a stunning World Cup final, says Goldman Sachs. England and Japan, on the other hand, will drop out in the group stages. But what if providing education for all determined World Cup outcomes?

Based on the 2011 Education for All Development Index (EDI) and ruthlessly ignoring issues around UK/English identity, the graph below shows you that England and Japan are the World Cup’s best educators.

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It’d be a closely fought final! Japan has strength in numbers: more children are enrolled in school, and more of them reach grade 5. But the UK boasts higher rates of adult literacy. My money is on a Japanese victory – it scores much higher than the UK on gender parity.

The group stages: two “Groups of Life”

Before each World Cup, football pundits like to identify a so-called “Group of Death” composed of particularly strong teams. So let’s choose two EDI “Groups of Life” with particularly good educators.

  • Group D brings together the England and Italy, both in the EDI top 5, with Uruguay not far behind. Guess what: England, Italy and Uruguay have all won the World Cup!
  • Group B hosts three of the EDI top 10: the Netherlands, Spain and Australia. Chile is expected to meet all six “Education for All” goals by 2015. Worth noting: Spain and the Netherlands faced each other in the 2010 World Cup final!

Ghana: learning fast!

A shout-out to Ghana (where I have fond memories of watching the 2006 World Cup). The EFA Education Global Monitoring Report tells us that Ghana is one of just three countries to have graduated from the “low” to the “medium” EDI category since 1999 – great news! My fingers are crossed for the Black Stars, who will be playing Germany, Portugal and the US in tough Group G!

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