In light of the recent controversies over educational reform here in Britain, RESULTS UK turns its attention to the urgent needs of those in other parts of the world.
UNESCO estimates over 61 million children don’t go to school and 150 million more will drop out before finishing basic primary education.
The problem proves to be even more acute among minority groups as well as those separated by linguistic and geographical barriers or by ethnic and/or cultural segregation. UNESCO found that children in rural areas were half as likely to go to school as those living in cities. In Guatemala, the illiteracy rate in small townships is 60% – twice the figures recorded in urban areas. More must be done to ensure the needs of all children are provided for.
Unlike many afflictions suffered in the developing world, educational blight is easily curable and has been proven to have ‘knock-on’ effects for reaching other developmental goals. A joint paper by the UIS and the EFA Global Monitoring Report found that keeping children in primary education an extra year boosted economic growth by 6% a decade on. Education also helps reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS and other deadly diseases. Children educated to secondary level in rural Uganda are 3 times less likely to become infected. It’s now accepted that universal basic education is vital to furthering the fight against hunger, disease and extreme poverty.
Patrick Dune the founder of Warwick in Africa, a student-led programme that delivers maths and english training to teachers in Sub-Saharan Africa, says the most important thing is gaining access and getting teachers motivated.
“It’s incredibly tough for teachers in rural locations. So often they have had very little training which means that they, like their learners, miss out on fulfilling their potential. That’s why inspiring, supporting and developing them is achieving such big bangs per buck”. Patrick Dunne, Chairman of LEAP Confronting Conflict.
Work is being done to encourage teachers to go into rural areas such as provisional housing, hardship allowances and transport subsidies. But the fact remains that many will transfer out of these areas as soon as their contracts are up, leaving posts unfilled and students abandoned. Other initiatives like school meal allowances in Kenya, credit incentives in Bangladesh or simply investing in books and pencils have been found to boost school attendance.
Despite excellent progress being made on the ground by independent charities and support groups, the results will no doubt be stifled without the promise of governments and global institutions to commit to achieving the Millennium Development Goal of Universal Primary Education by 2015. With numbers of children out of school still so high, it’s unlikely this objective will be reached in time and the prospects are even bleaker for those children suffering with disabilities. The UN estimates that around 22 million children with disabilities have no access to education, a rate which rises to a shocking 95% in some parts of sub-Saharan Africa. The needs of these children are systematically side-lined and ignored, with many vulnerable children appearing to fall of the radar of the social services who are supposed to protect them. Without decent access to suitable education, these children will have no option but to accept a life of poverty and ignorance from which they have little hope of escaping.
RESULTS UK feels there is a serious absence of cohesive guidance on how best to access marginalised communities and disabled children. Within multilateral aid initiatives, we’ve found a lack of synergy between donors, governments and the schools themselves. Follow the link below to find out more about how the Global Partnership for Education is engaging with local communities to assess their needs.
Whislt the GEP is progressing with wide-scale, country-led educational reforms, RESULTS UK is worried they still aren’t doing enough to ensure adequate inclusion frameworks are implemented to reach out to marginalised groups.
Take action to ensure key decision makers in Government and the Global Education Partnership are aware of the importance of re-writing policies to include all marginalised groups in their strategic planning reports. Join RESULTS today!