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 well being of a child, a local community, and even a country. An education can provide children with the tools they need to surpass many difficult circumstances. While a generation brought up by a good education system can uplift the living standards in an entire community. We know that by providing a quality education the lives of many children can be impacted for the better.
This is why ONETrack International aims to facilitate, support, and fund education.
“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)
This article stipulates that education is a right that must be offered to children around the world.
ONETrack International recognizes this guideline and goes beyond it by supporting educational resources/ideas that will make for a quality education. On top of ensuring that our children can attend school, there is an expectation to provide the resources for academic success and to encourage the development of inclusive learning environments. Our children deserve the best education possible to ensure that they love learning and get the most out of traditional academics.
The emergence of Covid-19 has presented a unique and difficult obstacle to the education of many around the world. The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has reported that 990, 925, 124 learners have had their education impacted after the closure of schools in 131 countries due to the pandemic (2). This data amounts to a lot of missed class days for children that have come to rely on schools as their pipeline to social interaction, important knowledge, and other necessities. 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.
ONETrack International works harder than ever to ensure that the children under our care will not experience education disruption for long.
Today’s studious child can make for tomorrow’s leader, doctor, lawyer, and even teacher. Education may begin in the home but is further honed in the classroom and through proper instruction. A quality education is what can make the difference between a confident child and a fearful one. This is what makes a quality education absolutely necessary for developing countries on the cusp of improvement. What developing countries need most is an informed, engaged populace 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.
The truism that life is unpredictable is highly pertinent when it comes to the classroom setting. Education often thrives under stable conditions and languishes when a community has instability. This is to be expected, because a disaster of any kind (whether manmade or not) is disruptive. Disasters have a habit of overturning the best-laid plans and introducing new concerns that were previously not considered. Any disaster 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 taken by the disaster. 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. These are some factors and there are many more that have gone unmentioned, which could easily stop a child from receiving an education.
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. Capacity is harder to prepare for without prior data acquisition. Nevertheless, there can be prior preparation through community capacity building toward disaster response. Training and planning for an emergency response ahead of time for schools can mitigate the damage of a disaster to the school environment.
Girls have been historically and traditionally denied educational access to the greater detriment of all. An education for girls is a development 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 from a focus on female education can bring a community out of poverty and establish a foundation for greater progress.(8)
UNESCO estimates that 132 million girls are out of 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. That girls are afforded the same resources and protections that should be the standard in any school. Investment should be made for enrolling girls into 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 additional 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. One can’t be forwarded without the other since both areas essentially feed into each other. A beneficial education requires that the local population is healthy. While a successful health campaign relies on an educated population that can care for itself. The prevention of disease outbreaks, promotion of proper nutrition and hygiene, and coordination of regular sport and exercise programs help 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.
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). This hasn’t been a reality yet. Sub-Saharan Africa and other developing regions of the world continue to face the biggest challenges when attempting to provide their schools with basic resources.(12)
A lack of access to electricity, water, technology, and other vital resources widens an inequality gap that makes school buildings unpleasant to attend. The best education could be provided in a community, but it is of no help if the educational facilities are unusable. Education should not be administered in a location that is dangerous or difficult for children.
To make an educational setting ready for students there must be some investment in the facility and 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 be child 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. It is also able to motivate a population or community to work for progress rather than staying in stagnation. 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.
Education is the basis for a successful emerging market. It generates the skilled workforce and ideas that make a labor force competitive in a globalized world.