Education Standards

 

Education Standards

Why Education?

Education is an important resource that enables upward social mobility and the ability to escape poverty. Providing a quality education is an investment in the wellbeing of a child, a local community, and even an entire country. An education can provide children with the tools they need to surpass many difficult circumstances and a generation brought up by a good education system can uplift the living standards in the whole community. 

“Everyone has a right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.” – Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948(1)

ONETrack International recognizes the guidelines of the UDHR by supporting educational programs that provide  quality education. On top of ensuring that our children can attend school, we provide the necessary resources for academic success and encourage the development of inclusive learning environments. 

 

Education Today

Many world events, such as the emergence of Covid-19 in 2020, have presented unique and difficult obstacles to the education of many children around the world. The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has reported that around a million young learners have had their education impacted after the closure of schools in 131 countries due to the pandemic(2). This data tells the story of a lot of missed class days for children that have come to rely on schools as their pipeline to social interaction, critical knowledge, necessary meals, stability, and many other important components of their their childhood upbringing. Some children have since been able to return to schools while those who are in more vulnerable and disadvantaged communities have continued to go without a basic education.

Covid-19 has caused a huge disruption in global education that must be mitigated before any positive educational developments can be lost and ONETrack International is working harder than ever to ensure that the children under our care will not experience education disruption for long. 

What developing countries need most is an informed, engaged population able to bring benefits to their community. Education produces such citizens by intellectually and socially stimulating children daily. It is a school that introduces a child to concepts that may not come from the immediate home while also challenging the child to think bigger.(3)

 

Early Childhood Development

Early childhood education (ECE) is necessary for the upbringing of engaged and informed children in society. Development programs geared toward providing this education are more than just prep for later education. They are an experience onto themselves that give children a head start toward developing their literacy and stem skills. These programs also help children develop social and physical skills that can serve as a foundation for their lifelong well-being. 

UNESCO defines early childhood as the period from birth to eight years old.(4) This stage is recognized as a time of remarkable growth influenced by the surroundings of the child. Multiple studies have shown that investing in education during this stage of human life ultimately yields high returns in educational outcomes and health outlooks. 

A 2018 study conducted by the Harvard Graduate School of Education found that participation in ECE leads to the reduction of future academic concerns. Led by Harvard, researchers from five different universities analyzed 22 high-quality studies administered between 1960 and 2016 to determine the impacts of ECE on medium and long term educational outcomes. Their analysis found that participation in an ECE program leads to significant reductions in special education placement and grade retention.(5)(6)

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has also recommended investment in ECE programs and has provided guidelines to identify a good ECE program. The CDC has recommended greater investment on the basis that ECE programs can improve child development and act as a factor preventing adult disease and disability. This organization has also recognized that ECE programs can minimize school readiness gaps between low-income and economically well off children. According to the CDC, all ECE programs should incorporate literacy, numeracy, cognitive development, socio-emotional development, and motor skills. The method of ECE program administration and its additional benefits can vary, but it should include the above-listed skills to provide a better foundation for young children.(7) 

ECE programs are an investment in a child’s future and they must be made accessible to those from a variety of backgrounds to be effectively utilized. It is essential to make ECE programs available to children from low-income backgrounds since they stand to benefit the most from these programs. ECE programs should also be further developed to be inclusive enough that traditionally disadvantaged students (girls and children with special needs) can reap some benefits. 

 

Education Intervention

Education often thrives under stable conditions and languishes when a community has instability. World events that disrupt education (disasters, conflicts, political strife, etc.) can destroy infrastructure, reduce community capacity, contaminate resources, and reduce local human capital. This in turn directly impacts education in a variety of negative ways. The local school may have been destroyed during the disaster. A whole community of educators may have been among those displaced by the event. The parents of the students may have lost their main source of income from the disaster. The student could be traumatized or otherwise impacted by a sudden disaster. Etc.

Preparation is key to ensure that children don’t suffer from educational disruption during or after a disaster. The initial concerns that come up after a major disaster are a lack of resources and capacity. A possible lack of resources could be preemptively circumvented by providing a community with surplus educational tools beforehand. There should be a stock of textbooks, writing utensils, desks, and other regular classroom necessities readily available. Training and planning for an emergency response ahead of time can mitigate the damage of a disaster to the school environment. 

 

Female Education

Girls have been historically and traditionally denied educational access to the greater detriment of entire countries. The education of a community’s girls is a developmental priority that brings returns to other sectors of society. According to the World Bank, better-educated women tend to be more informed about healthcare, have fewer children, actively participate in the formal labor market, and earn higher incomes. All these outcomes can bring a community out of poverty and establish a foundation for greater progress.(8)

UNESCO estimates that 132 million girls worldwide do not attend school, including 34.3 million of primary school age, 30 million of lower-secondary school age, and 67.4 million of upper-secondary school age. These statistics present an alarming picture of the future of a large portion of the world’s population. It has led to women representing a small portion of the world’s researchers and frequent exposure to worse working conditions than male counterparts.(9)

Nevertheless, girls’ education is more than just getting girls into school. It is also about ensuring that girls can learn in a safe and academically challenging environment and that girls are afforded the same resources and protections that should be standard in any school. Investment should be made for enrolling girls in school and providing an education that empowers girls to exercise their agency. 

 

Literacy and Stem Skills

The purpose of an adequate education is to impart a child with skills that will help them throughout their lifetime. Basic literacy, math, and science skills are crucial to mastering many career paths that are essential to society. Also incorporating these skills in the daily life of a child can help build their confidence in their abilities. A child that is comfortable in their own ability to handle basic tasks will be driven to seek professions that are necessary for a community. The child that learns to read and count today can be the leader of tomorrow. Hence,  families, communities, and countries benefit when the children can read and compute calculations. 

The United Nations (UN) has reported that 617 million children and adolescents are not achieving minimum proficiency levels in reading and mathematics.(10)

This global problem could be resolved through the promotion of literacy and stem programs in the educational setting. Literacy and stem programs may already be in the curriculum, but they often lack support measures for when children fall behind. Already present literacy and stem programs would be improved through the support of better tutoring and remedial programs for students that need extra help. Education can also be continued in the home. The classroom is seen as the main mechanism of education, but a family provided with books and academic tools can reinforce formal education. 

 

School Health and Nutrition

Education and public health are fundamentally tied together. A beneficial education requires that the local population is healthy. The prevention of disease outbreaks, promotion of proper nutrition and hygiene, and coordination of regular sport and exercise programs help further an education agenda. These actions educate children about healthy lifestyles, which improve their learning readiness and potential for academic achievement. Children that live a healthy life also see a decrease in mental health problems that could hurt their academic performance. 

 

Educational Facilities 

The Incheon Declaration and Framework for Action promised that 12 years of free, publicly funded, equitable quality primary and secondary education would be provided(11). However, many developing regions of the world continue to face huge challenges in providing their schools with basic resources.(12)

A lack of access to electricity, water, internet, technology, and other vital resources needed to widen an inequality gap leave many schools behind. To make an educational setting ready for students there must be some investment in the facility and the appropriate school supplies. An educational facility should be kept in the best material conditions. The area surrounding the educational facility must also be made safe for students to encourage attendance. The classroom must be provided with water, lighting, desks, and other basic supplies to keep children safe. Digital tools such as computers and tablets alongside the traditional pen and pencil should also be considered to prepare students for a highly digitized world. Communal resources such as restrooms and eating rooms should be kept in usable condition. Finally, an educational facility should be routinely cared for to demonstrate to students that education is a valued resource.

 

Education in Emerging Markets 

Education is one of the greatest tools available to alleviate generational and endemic poverty. It is a mechanism able to move a child from one social stratum to another. These characteristics of education are an invaluable resource for developing countries that seek to become more competitive in the global marketplace. More skilled workers lead to the creation of high-quality products that result in greater economic returns. The leaders of developing countries recognize this fact, which is why this century has seen an increased push in educational investment. It generates the skilled workforce and ideas that make a labor force competitive in a globalized world.

 

 

References

https://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/ (1)

https://en.unesco.org/covid19/educationresponse (2)

https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/education/ (3)

https://en.unesco.org/themes/early-childhood-care-and-education (4)

https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.3102/0013189X17737739 (5)

https://www.ffyf.org/new-harvard-study-reveals-lasting-benefits-quality-early-childhood-education/ (6)

https://www.cdc.gov/policy/hst/hi5/earlychildhoodeducation/index.html (7)

https://www.worldbank.org/en/topic/girlseducation (8)

https://en.unesco.org/genderequality (9)

https://www.un.org/en/observances/literacy-day (10)

https://iite.unesco.org/publications/education-2030-incheon-declaration-framework-action-towards-inclusive-equitable-quality-education-lifelong-learning/ (11)

https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/4_Why-It-Matters-2020.pdf (12)

 

 

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Child Protection Plan

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