Let it be clear to all; we are passionate about education!
Learning how to read, write and count form the mere basics to properly function in this world and the more people we can give access to such basic life-skills, the better.
But getting children in school, providing them with educational access, sadly hasn’t proven to be enough. Many, many of the students who are offered the opportunity to go to school, do not get the opportunity to finish it.
In Ghana, for example, only 50% of the children who start school are able to complete grade 5 – and of those, less than half are able to complete a simple paragraph. So not only are children not incentivised to finish school, the quality level of the education they are enjoying is extremely low.
Ghana, unfortunately, is only one of the many examples where a gap between the phenomenon ‘education’ and the actual student can be found. The UNESCO program for Education, part of the Millennium Development Goals, aims to provide free universal access to primary schooling, has been successful in dramatically increasing enrolment. But, as its latest Global Monitoring Report indicates, many kids drop out before finishing school.
A great number of reasons on what has caused such a gap can be found in the article ‘Redefining Education in the Development World’ , a very clear and concise piece of writing by Mark J. Epstein and Krist Yuthas.
Epstein and Yuthas’ claim that the opportunity costs of staying in school vs. getting a job is too high. Families are asked to forego the opportunity of making money for the sake of their children enjoying bad education. If it would be a proven fact that such education would increase the possibilities of the children getting a better paid job, then this would be a price many families are willing to pay.
Sadly, it isn’t. There are little to no statistics indicating that finalising your education in a development country will get you a better job.
A second factor is the educational curriculum. Aside from the quality level, often students do not identify with the courses offered to them. Or as Epstein and Yuthas put it:
” Educational programs typically adopt traditional Western models of education, with an emphasis on math, science, language, and social studies. These programs allocate scarce resources to topics like Greek mythology, prime numbers, or tectonic plate movement—topics that may provide intellectual stimulation, but have little relevance in the lives of impoverished children”
So what can be done?
There are many answers to this question. And I am happy to write that are already many answer-seekers out there.
One often heard response is the integration of financial literacy in the educational curriculum. If we manage to teach proper financial and entrepreneurial skills to children in school, this might give them the proper tools to succeed in the societies they live in.
Bluntly said: if parents see school is improving their child’s money making skills, they will support it to stay in school.
I support this theory but do not think it is the only answer. We should strive not only to integrate more direct skills in educational curricula in development countries, in addition we should also strive to increase their overall quality.
It’s not going to be easy but we should try! We are passionate about education and will support whatever ideas that will allow children in development countries to finalise it.
Please continue to visit our website so you can find out how you can help us to help as many children as possible to receive and finalise proper schooling.