How can we positively change the world? The only weapon the world would need to use is education. There are no bullets in it nor does it intend to hurt anyone – instead it is full of knowledge and bringing us together. It is not a quick fix, it is something that spreads out the benefits throughout the globe and time.
The current situation
The leaders of our world have made a promise of every child having completed 12 years of education by the year 2030. In Afghanistan, over three quarters of children have not completed a lower secondary school. In eight countries of the world over half of the people aged 20 to 24 have had less than two years of schooling in their lives.
These numbers are daunting. For one coming from a western country with a well-established education system, they might feel distant – there’s climate change, famine and water shortage to worry about as well. But the key to solve all these problems lays in educating people. Yet, education gets a less than 2% share of share of all humanitarian aid, when the target set by UN (United Nations) is 4%.
What needs to change
Education needs growing attention, publicity and funding. A research conducted by UNESCO shows that the aid directed for education has decreased by 4% between 2013 and 2014, especially that towards basic education. And if the current trend continues, in 2030 over 150 million children will be living in extreme poverty and 60 million children of primary school age will be out of school. Despite the efforts, education seems to get less and less emphasis on the decisions made behind the closed doors by state leaders and politicians.
Education is vital to the sustainable development of our planet. Education gives the children, but also adults a chance to make a difference in their lives – they do not have to follow the same path as their parents and grandparents before them. Creating a more equal environment, where also girls, women, the poorest and disabled get an equal chance to live a fulfilling, meaningful life, should be in our minds when we are thinking about our own future.
Not only is the aid for the developing countries insufficient at its current level, but there are other educational issues that are also widely neglected. Last year was a peak of these: “almost 60 million people were in forced displacement in 2015, the highest number since 1945 (UNHCR, 2015a)”. In countries such as Afghanistan, Syria and Palestine children are losing their access to education because of a conflict that is by no means been caused by them, but which well-educated children could prevent from happening in the future. Among the displaced people only half of the children are in education and a quarter in secondary schools. And this problem is not a short term one: in 2014 the average time of exile was 25 years.
Refugees also face difficulties in entering higher education, with only 1% of refugees able to access universities (UNHCR, 2015b). Scholarships are crucial in order to change this, as well as implementing new ways of teaching and providing both asylum seekers and refugees sufficient information about their possibilities for applying to higher education institutions (for example from here).
Terrorism and many of the reasons behind the refugee crisis stem from the lack of education as well. Thus it is worth considering whether sending tanks and military forces is the right way to tackle the problems. Sending qualified teachers to educate the extremists about right matters could sometimes help more. Boko Haram in Africa is depriving especially girls from their access to schools, same as Isis does in the Middle East. The leaders of these groups have various backgrounds and the people they recruit are, as sad as it is, often the less educated.
How can you help?
Everyone can contribute to this cause of enabling education to every single child in the world. It can start from small things – Study Advisory is donating 25 cents to UNESCO for every university review written on the site. It only takes couple of minutes to do this if you have had the privilege to study in a higher education institution. With Volunteer World you can be a volunteering teacher, among those children in need of brighter futures. Education is not only for the fortunate, it is for everyone.
Study Advisory is a global platform for students looking for a place to study. It enables the students to leave reviews and help others to get an insight of their schools. You can search and rate yours at www.studyadvisory.org – every submitted review counts towards better education!
Guest Author: Suvi from Study Advisory