Global Goal #4: A Tool to Transform Lives

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Young people holding "Quality Education" sign
Everything we are, we owe to education

I grew up in a house where an interesting story has been told many times.

“When prince charming (your dad) came to steal the heart of my little princess (your mom)” my grandfather starts, with a smile on his face and a glowing tear on his cheek. “Your mom was preparing to harvest the fruit of 12 years of constant hard work, sleepless nights and the perseverance to succeed” he continues. With his hand on my shoulder and a warm voice he adds: “I stood solid and said firmly that no man shall marry my daughter until she celebrates her personal victory”. Which is graduation, he explains.

At that time, my mom was just a normal girl with fantasies. One of them was a world where she is a beautiful bride to the man of her dreams. However, my grandfather was an educated and wise old man. His achievement was being the oldest law school student among his colleagues. He was looking beyond my mom’s fantasies, for the sake of her own interest.

A year later, my mom graduated. Then she and my dad celebrated their union.

Today, I see my mom being respected for what she has accomplished. Her opinion and what she says is never disregarded, whatever topic she speaks on.

My grandpa says: “I don’t have much wealth to leave for your mom, but I’m sure I already offered her the best legacy; it is her education.” I also remember what Malala’s father once said: “Don’t ask me what I did. Ask me what I didn’t do. I didn’t clip her wings and that’s all.” Proudly, I would say, my grandfather didn’t just not clip my mother’s wings. He, as well, was a warrior for his daughter, a supporter and the one standing at her side until she stood strong herself.

Now, this was a true story from my personal life. It always comes to my mind whenever I feel the struggle of accomplishing my goals. With daddy being my personal superhero. One day, he very warmly yet sharply whispered into my ear: “If you are not going to make your dreams come true, no one will care to do that for you.” “Education is the tool”, he continued.

If only we had more of those heroes in the world, you wouldn’t be reading the following numbers:

1- More than 25% of all children in 17 countries have NEVER been to primary school.

2- In 35 countries, more than 75% of adolescents have NOT completed lower secondary school.

3- In 8 countries more than 50% of young people aged 20-24 years have less than 2 years of schooling.

4- In 27 countries, 9 out of 10 of the poorest young women have NOT completed primary schools.

Education is a global concern. Nevertheless, the goal is not just providing education itself. But providing quality education is the aim. Moreover, the transformative power of education makes it a central pillar of the post-2015 Global Goals.

According to a UNICEF study from 2013 concerning education in Syria, there were almost 2,400 schools damaged and about 1,500 schools were used as shelters. Which in result, caused kids and young people to drop out of schools. This leads to child labor and early child marriage.

“Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world”, says Nelson Mandela.

The question would be: How will (quality) education contribute in changing the world?

It is an invaluable instrument to lead every stage of the journey to a better and more productive life:

1- It will increase women’s and men’s job opportunities.

2- It will reduce child marriages and early births.

3- It will lead to faster economic growth.

4- It will lead to a world free of discrimination and violence.

5- It is a very important solution to global environmental problems.

Finally, by educating the youth you give them the tools needed to be effectively involved in the process of leadership and peacebuilding to end war.

One cannot deny the challenges, especially in countries being affected by conflict and in developing countries. Still, it is not mission impossible.

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Syrian Arab Republic