Education - Central Role in Global Movement Against Illiteracy, Extreme Poverty, and other forms of Violence
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THE DIMENSIONS OF QUALITATIVE EDUCATION – THEIR CENTRAL ROLE IN GLOBAL MOVEMENT AGAINST ILLITERACY, EXTREME POVERTY, TERRORISM AND OTHER FORMS OF CONFLICTS
“When we put education first, we can reduce poverty and hunger, and wasted potential and look forward to stronger and better societies for all”
Ban ki – moon
United Nations Secretary – General
“Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms …”
Article 26(2) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Several studies postulate that the deficiencies of extreme poverty, terrorism, and other forms of conflicts that have plagued societies for a long time are byproducts of illiteracy. Furthermore, that illiteracy is the underlying condition and the aforementioned are only systems – and – addressing the symptoms does not impact the underlying condition that gave rise to it in the first place - the underlying condition of illiteracy. Personally, I give credence to this viewpoint or standpoint because I have seen firsthand and even heard how qualitative education has brought about awareness that has lifted individuals and societies from extreme poverty, brought about economic, social and political revival and breakthroughs, and has affected the attitude of humans towards fellow humans, thereby leading to the peaceful coexistence that had previously eluded them.
In line with article 26(1) of the UDHR and other human rights resolutions and conventions that have incorporated the right to education, I believe that education is an inalienable right of everyone, so therefore should be free and compulsory, on the other hand, higher education should be accessible to all on the basis of merit. Like I stated before, I have seen firsthand how education has transformed individuals and societies positively, so, yes! Education can transform lives. Education can bring about the prospects of a bright future. Education can lead to technological advancements. Education can proffer solutions to social, economic and political problems. Education can bring peace. As a peace advocate I have seen the awareness created by education give life to communities that were hitherto fraught with conflicts but for education to bring about all these positive changes here stated, it must be education of good quality.
The Global Education First initiative puts it, thus – “… while we strive to boost school attendance we must ensure that our schools are engines of opportunity and not just idle warehouses.”
It is interesting that more and more individuals and groups are joining in the discussions to ensure that education be accessible and available to every child and youth without prejudices, I am glad this awareness an action is blossoming I my lifetime. Amidst these clamourings we should equally push for positive reforms in the education system. Education has to be qualitative if it is to be beneficial to humanity and impact positively on society.
The ultimate aim of education is learning which should increase the prospects of a future filled with opportunities, wholly transform society, technologically, economically and politically, and lift people from poverty. It is important that education reduces poverty. “When we put education first, we can reduce poverty, and hunger, and wasted potential and look forward to stronger and better societies for all. Families have made huge material sacrifices to ensure that their children enroll and finish schools, because they recognize the benefits associated with education, and they hope to reap these benefits in future I am sad yet sure that the education we now seek for all may not lead to these breakthroughs if we do not equally insist that students get quality education without any form of discrimination. Today, some 250 million children cannot read, write or count well. Even those with at least four years in school, this is tantamount to illiteracy and signifies a downturn in the standard of education. Every child deserves education of good quality. Funding education and enrolment the of children in schools is just a first step and will not achieve its purpose in the end if we do not structure proper infrastructure and facilities with adequate books and materials that would aid learning. Students should be taught by well trained and highly motivated teachers to ensure that their stay in school is fulfilling, and the knowledge acquired rescue eventually them, their families and societies from claws of POVERTY. Quality education addresses the challenges of POVERTY.
Over the years, ignorance due to illiteracy has the spin-off for political and religious terrorism and other conflicts that have prevented peace on this planet, earth. This is chiefly because education brings about an awareness that dispels ignorance. A knowledge that: “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights and we are all endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in the spirit of brotherhood” the preamble of the UDHR. The education of the heart is a very important aspect of education, and any schooling level that graduates students who are lacking in this aspect of learning are doing a great disservice to society.
Qualitative education transcends the ability to read, write and count properly, it should lead to character transformation that will change your world view, annihilates those negative biases and stereotypes about other people, their cultures, religions, and economic and political views. This type of education strengthen societal bond; it teaches students that it is their duty to reason critically about the problem of the society and put forward suggestion as to how this problem can be solved; it teaches leadership skills, peace-building skills, volunteerism. It helps students unlearn the act of retaliation as a form of dispute resolution. It offers the unique platform for students to learn about human rights, like the right to live, safety from violence, the right to believe and practice the religion a person wants, the right to education, the right to fair trial, the right not to be forced into marriage etc. These rights are universal and belong to all of humanity (for more details on these rights, see the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948, and other human rights treaties). The UDHR recognizes the aspect of education to humanity and societies, for this reason it states thus, “Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms ….) Article 26(2) UDHR.
Schools are a fertile ground for this aspect of education. It should be entrenched in the curricula at all schooling levels and adapted to the understanding of the students. That is not to say parents, the media and teachers do not have a role to play in this. Experts in these fields have to arrange seminars for teachers from time to time to arm them with the knowledge that underpinnes these concepts, then the teacher would in turn impact the knowledge acquired on the students. In the words of Aristotle, “educating the mind without educating the heart is no education.” If we hope to build a stronger and better society, we must equally pay attention to the quality of our education.