Education is a universal human right, but not everyone gets to enjoy this privilege, especially children in developing African countries. According to a report by UNESCO, over one-fifth of African children between the ages of 6 and 11 are not in school. Meanwhile, nearly 60% of youth between the ages of 15 and 17 are not enrolled. Data also shows that African girls have a 36% exclusion rate compared to 32% for boys. Almost 9 million African girls between the ages of 6 and 11 will never be able to attend school compared to the 6 million boys in the continent.
However, it’s not that these children don’t want to receive basic education. It’s because of the lack of available resources to make the learning experience for students enjoyable and comfortable. For example, Umaru Harisa, a primary school student in Nigeria, shared that there are no clean toilets and proper desks or chairs in their classrooms. They are also required to travel long distances to attend classes. Because of this, students are discouraged from going to school and would prefer to play on the street or work on farms.
Does Poor Quality of Life Affect Quality Education?
Sanusi Ahmodu Salihu shared that in ancient Africa, each member of African society was valuable and productive because the previous education system ensured that everyone had something to bring to the table. However, the introduction of western pedagogy has made Africans dependent on the government for jobs. Unfortunately, the existing inequity in education and resources in Africa, especially in rural communities, has resulted in disparities in job opportunities for most disadvantaged youth.
With this, the cycle of poverty and inequality continues to persist among Africans in rural or low-income communities. For one, the absence of basic resources such as food, electricity, and educational books will demotivate students because they don’t have access to necessities that will aid them in their learning process. If students experience barriers to quality education due to poor quality of life, they will not receive the proper education necessary to progress in secondary or tertiary education. This greatly impacts the possible opportunities they can take in the future because they were unable to receive primary and advanced education.
How Can Quality Education Reduce Inequity and Poverty?
A groundbreaking study by 2019 Nobel Prize-winning economist Professor Michael Kremer showed that specific international educational approaches are effective in helping eradicate poverty. Professor Kremer found that Bridge Schools’ integrated methodologies produce better and more equitable academic outcomes because they incorporate highly standardized education methods such as standardized lesson plans and teacher feedback and monitoring. As a result, 82% of Grade 1 pupils in Bridge International Academies schools were able to read a sentence, compared to 27% of children in other schools. Furthermore, Bridge’s teaching methods prioritize equity to ensure that all students can keep up with the lessons. Students with the lowest learning levels gain the most, which means the learning gains are increased for students who were predicted to have lower performance compared to their peers. This approach empowers them to learn as much as possible within shorter timeframes.
It’s important for students, particularly from lower socio-economic backgrounds, to receive quality education because their knowledge and skills can propel them to success. Olivia Giovetti revealed that between 1960 and 2000, 75% of the growth in gross domestic product worldwide was linked to increased math and science skills. They explained that there’s a significant relationship between aggregate cognitive skills and the long-run growth rate of an economy. Therefore, improving the quality of education in schools will benefit both the country and its citizens. Moreover, Giovetti elaborated on the impact of education on students perspectives. Quality education liberates the mind, which can act as a leveler and equalizer within society. With this, they can make choices as future leaders that can alleviate inequality and poverty.
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”In collaboration with Sam Kerr”