Education challenges in developing nations
Education for All, a programme initiated by UNESCO, is included as an important part of the Millennium Development Goals that is focused on offering open and free access to primary education. The initiative has been effective in substantially improving enrollment across the region. However, many students are still dropping out of school before they complete their education, as per the annual Education for All reports. But why?
There are several reasons for this, which include the cost of education and challenges in commuting to school. Even if the government offers free tuition, most families are unable to pay for expenses for examination fees, lunch, books and uniforms. Moreover, as the education delivered is usually of poor quality, most parents feel compelled to use and pay for supplementary tutoring to help their children successfully pass the exams.
Lack of quality education
On the other hand, opportunity costs are also very high for most students. As the children spend most of their time in schools, they are unable to generate income for their family by working in the family farm or selling produce in the marketplace. It only makes sense that when even after investing heavily in education, children don't receive any quality learning or basic numeracy and literacy skills, parents often feel discouraged to keep their kids in school.
In case, learning outcomes are sufficient, only a handful of learners further their education to secondary school. Furthermore, employment prospects are also rather poor in many developing countries. The fact is the job prospects of a students barely increase even after continuing education post grade 5 or through grade 10. Academic programmes generally follow traditional western education models with main focus on language, science, social studies and maths. These educational programmes allot limited resources to topics such as prime numbers, tectonic plate movement or Greek mythology, topics which offer intellectual stimulation, but are almost irrelevant to the impoverished children.
Need for relevant education
Education is currently failing to offer the financial literacy which the children will require to manage the insignificant resources in their control. It also does not provide any the guidance necessary to generate opportunities for creating a secured livelihood or accumulating wealth. Additionally, schooling is also unable to provide any assistance to improve the physical health required for developing standard of living and economic stability. Due to dearth of quality medical care, preventable diseases causes serious damages to the financial stability of people in impoverished regions. This can be significantly enhanced through training on basic health behaviors.
The learners in impoverished regions do need any additional academic skills; instead what they need are life skills which will empower them to boost their financial and career prospects and overall health. These skills include entrepreneurial skills, financial literacy, management skills, health maintenance, and other administrative abilities like project management, problem solving and teamwork. This is undoubtedly the ideal time for us to not only redefine but also reinvent quality education across all developing nations.
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