How to Improve Access to Education Around the World
For many children, access to free education is something that is taken for granted; however, there are millions of children worldwide who do not regularly attend school. Some of the barriers described in this article by Global Citizen that prevent children from receiving an education include cost, disability, and location. This article will explore these reasons and possible ways to reduce or eliminate these barriers.
Lack of finances is a huge barrier for many families in getting their children to attend school regularly. Impoverished children grow up without learning even basic skills, such as reading or math, which could help them acquire trade skills to get a job that supports their families and serves their communities. This continues an ongoing cycle of poverty in these struggling communities and families. Many places do not offer tax-supported public education, so all schools in those areas come with a hefty price tag for tuition. One of the ways this could be solved is by setting up public education systems that are supported by taxes. This could be done by raising local taxes, or preferably by reallocating funding from taxes to put towards building and maintaining public schools.
Tuition is not the only cost associated with attending school. Books, uniforms, supplies, and transportation to and from school all cost money that millions of families simply don’t have. There are many possible solutions to these problems, such as creating a library of shared books for each grade level that are reused every year by students, rather than requiring every child to buy new books each year. Poverty is not a speedy or straightforward problem to solve, however, and resolving the underlying issues of financial crises is much easier said than done.
Disability is another significant factor that prevents children from receiving an education. There is an abundance of students with various disabilities who are perfectly capable of learning but are not presented with accessible materials. With constant new advances in technology, there are more ways than ever to make education available to those with disabilities. For example, this article from Triple Pundit describes new computer programs that can automatically translate English to Braille for blind students, making reading the same assignments as their seeing classmates significantly easier. Technology, lesson plans, classroom spaces, and more must be designed with accessibility in mind.
Many bright children are eager to learn but simply do not have access to transportation or to a school within a reasonable distance from their home. In many places, children are unsafe walking the trek from home to school, whether the hazards are from the climate, animals, or other humans. There are several ways to reduce this barrier, such as implementing technology, designing lessons for learning at home, having older or more advanced students tutor or mentor lower level students in the area, providing bicycles or other safe forms of transportation to students, and more. This article from Forbes explains new methods currently being implemented to share resources to rural communities without the need for Internet access. Connecting communities and creating programs designed for remote learning can help improve access to education for all.
Do you have any thoughts on how we can improve access to education around the world?