“When we put education first, we can reduce poverty and hunger, end wasted potential – and look forward to stronger and better societies for all.” – Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations
Having access to free quality education is a human right, as declared by the United Nations.
Despite this, 124 million children worldwide do not have access to school and 250 million children leave school without basic numeracy and literacy skills. Many of them live in our Indo-Pacific region. Girls, children with disability and those living in rural or conflict-afflicted areas continue to be especially disadvantaged.
Schools in poor countries often lack in materials and there is a shortage of qualified teachers. If education is not free, many poor families cannot afford to send their children to school. Children who aren’t in school often end up doing dangerous jobs to support their families. Many are forced into slavery or early marriages.
Facing this global learning crisis, you would think that the world’s wealthy nations would be pouring money into education. But the reverse is true – education aid worldwide is declining.
The impact of education on areas of health, prosperity and quality of life is hugely positive. Education enables people to break out of the poverty cycle having a transformative impact on individuals, communities, nations and ultimately the world.
For instance, a child born to an educated mother is more than twice as likely to survive to the age of five. And an educated mother is much less likely to die in childbirth and she will have fewer children. It is also estimated that if all students in low-income countries acquired basic reading skills, global poverty could decline by 12 percent, meaning 171 million people would be lifted out of poverty. For a girl in a poor country, each year of education beyond third grade will increase her income by 20%.
Children cannot wait to grow – so their eduction needs to be prioritied. And we cannot end poverty without investing in education.
The Australian Government sees education as a ‘central pillar’ of the aid program with over 20 percent of the overall aid budget allocated to education.
But RESULTS believes that more of that money should be spent on basic education and that Australia should increase its contribution to The Global Partnership for Education, which aims to getting all children into school for a quality education in the world’s poorest countries
- 124 million children worldwide are not in school and 250 million children leave school without basic numeracy and literacy skills.
- Education empowers individuals, contributes to greater economic growth, produces healthier populations, and builds more stable, equitable societies.
- The Global Partnership for Education (GPE) provides funding to help implement the education plans for the poorest countries in the world; many of them in our region.
Photo credit: GPE