Lack of Access to Education
B. Many might think everyone has equal access to education at a younger age, as its a right that children have. However, we see today that education remains to be an inaccessible right for millions of these children around the globe. Inequality is a huge reason that these children do not receive the education they deserve. In developing countries, children are treated unequally due to their gender and cultural identity. These children find themselves abandoning their education due to these issues. This is a major issue especially for the younger children as they do not receive any education during this vital time, resulting in them to lack basic skills for the rest of their lives. This plays a major part in affecting poverty levels in the area. Yes, poverty levels are already high. However, the lack of access to education is one of the reasons why. This is because these children are growing up with little to no education, so when it comes to working and supporting a family, they can’t because they these lack major skills and experiences. This then forces them into the sweatshop and labor industry where they are put hard to work for little to no money. Many might ask why this is, well due to developing countries not having enough schools, certified educators, school items, food, water, etc. This is not the only factor though, many children have grown up in war-torn environments and sadly miss the opportunity to learn in a school environment. It is estimated that almost 50 million children and young people are out in school due to living in these conflicts areasi.
Many children are victims of child labor; they find themselves working rather than learning. It is estimated that 168 million children are laborsii, who are forced to work and make the products we use. The issue occurs mainly in developing countries. The most affected is Sub-Saharan Africa where estimated 32 million children remain uneducatediii. Central, Eastern, and Pacific Asia, also face similar problems with more than 27 million uneducated childreniv (“Right to Education” n.d.). The lack of access to education mainly affects primary age children, boys and girls are both affected by the issue. However, girls are affected much more and worse than boys. More than 32 million girls face this issue around the worldv. Girls face many more barriers than boys, and parents usually send the boys to school and make the girls stay at home and participate in household chores. All children no matter gender deserve the same access to education, and we should all care about the issue because it not fair that in some parts of the world children do not get the education they deserve. Many people in developed countries take their access to education for granted, while many dream to get a week worth of school. The issue is not getting enough help, and we should all choose to step up and show more support and passion for sending more children to school.
C. The Catholic Church teaches us many important things about this issue. Education and School is major importance in everyone life, especially children as they learn the important skills they will need throughout their life. Many of us were given a gift from God being able to attend school and learn. We should take this understanding with us and help the less fortunate as they do not have the opportunity as we do to learn and become educated. We should not take this gift for granted, but instead, use it to help those who in need. It is said that all of humanity should be educated for free, since the second of birth. There should be no barriers between where you live or who you are or the money you make. Education is a human right that everyone should have the access too. Many of these key principles conflict, and have been for decades. When we look at those who are trying to help and provide support, there are many but not enough. Many people just disregard what happens in other places of the world and don’t care to help because it doesn’t affect them. This is many of the issue started from, our lack of support. The biggest teaching from the Catholic Church on education is the one that is in the most conflict. As everyone has the right to education, this means that everyone should be in school learning. However, this is not true, as there are many children in developing countries that do not have access to education. This challenge is getting better but not by a lot. This all stems back to our lack of support and will to make a change in the world. Pope Francis had some wise words on this issue he said “Dear Brothers and Sisters: Among the spiritual works of mercy, we now consider those of counseling the doubtful and instructing the ignorant. These two works are related, and both can be practiced daily in our families and communities. The Church’s mission of evangelization has always been accompanied by teaching and the founding of schools since education promotes the dignity of the person and provides for the full development of his or her God-given gifts. Illiteracy and lack of access to education are in fact a form of poverty and injustice. Education develops our ability to think critically about ourselves and the world around us. By raising questions, it also helps us to find satisfying answers. It is a true work of mercy to counsel those troubled by doubts about the meaning of life or shaken in their faith. Let us be grateful to all who devote themselves to this work through catechesis and religious education. All of us are called to support one another by our witness of living faith and generous concern, for these are eloquent signs of the love of God which gives meaning and direction to our lives”vi.
Pope Francis talks about how it is not right that some people can’t live their lives to their fullest potential because they don’t have access to education. He also says how we should not take anything we have for granted and be very grateful for what we have been given.
D. Tostan is the organization that I choose to advocate for my issue. This organization is one that has a plan to help all African communities bring educational development to them. It is their vision to bring dignity to all, and they are achieving this day-by-day. Tostan was founded in Senegal in 1991 by Molly Melching, With a goal to educate Africans who had no access to schooling. Tostan means “breakthrough” in the Wolof language (the language of Senegal). There areas of impact range from health and environment to economic growth and education. With my focus being education, I was interested in what Tostan had been doing and their success levels. Tostan creates opportunities for many Africans to enroll and attend school. They have a Community Empowerment Program (CEP) in place that allows students to learn how to read and write in their language. The recent outbreak of technology has put many Africans at a disadvantage, so Tostan created a program where they teach them how to send text messages and use phones. They also have Community Management Committees (CMC) that ensure boys and girls are enrolled in school. If at some point parents are debating removing their children from school, the CMC will meet with them and discuss all possible solutions to keep them enrolled and learning. Tostan’s plans have been successful, their vision for the future keeps me very excited as their numbers and success keeps rising. To date, Tostan estimates that they have reached around 90,000 people who currently take part in their curriculum. This number is only on the rise, and with more support, I can see it doubling very soon!
i War Denying Millions Of Children An Education. Almost 50 … (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.worldhunger.org/war-denying-millions-of-children-an-education-almost-50-million-children-and-young-people-in-conflict-areas-out-of-school-says-repor
ii Child Labour – Wikipedia. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Child_labour
iii Those Affected – Global Education. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://hsb4ueducation.weebly.com/those-affected.html
iv Those Affected – Global Education. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://hsb4ueducation.weebly.com/those-affected.html
v 6 things keeping girls out of school. (n.d.) Retrieved from https://plancanada.ca/6-things-keeping-girls-out-of-school
vi Pope Francis: “illiteracy And Lack Of Access To Education … (n.d.). Retrieved from http://thechurchinmalta.org/en/posts/64382/pope-francis-illiteracy-and-lack-of-a