Education not only provides children and families with a pathway out of poverty, but it can also yield even bigger returns for the world's poorest countries through its impact on areas such as health and the economy. Educated mothers, for example, are more likely to have smaller families, and have their children immunized and send them to school. Education can also provide families and countries with more economic opportunities and help promote the civic participation that is critical to building democracies. Many governments have taken the first step towards harnessing the potential of education by investing more resources into the sector. Sub- Saharan African countries, for example, sent 46.5 million children to school for the first time between 1999 and 2008 after many governments used some of the billions of dollars freed up by debt cancellation to help eliminate school fees.
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