Education and Development: Challenges Facing Educational Systems Globally
Education is a powerful tool that has the potential to transform lives and societies. It is a fundamental human right, enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and is essential for the exercise of other rights.
Education can help reduce poverty, promote economic growth, and improve social mobility. It is a bridge between the rich and the poor, providing opportunities for individuals to improve their lives and contribute to their communities. However, despite its importance, access to education remains a challenge for many around the world.
In this essay, we will explore the role of education as a bridge between the rich and the poor, and the challenges facing the educational systems globally.
The Concept of Education
Education is the process by which an individual acquires knowledge, skills, values, attitudes, and sensitivities needed to function effectively in society. It is the process of teaching, training, and learning, especially in schools, colleges, or universities, to improve knowledge and develop skills. It is a process whereby knowledge and skills are acquired or imparted, and mental faculties are trained by another person.
Education is not just about learning skills and acquiring knowledge, it also means helping people to learn how to do things and supporting them to think about what they learn.
To Socrates, Education means bringing out the idea of universal validity which is latent in the mind of every man.
To Knowles (1995), education is the development of all those capabilities in which the individual enables him to control his environment and fulfillment his possibilities.
Education and Development
Education is a tool of development in the society. An educated populace helps to further the country's social, political, and economic development and leaves an indelible mark on a person's life, personality, manner of approach, way of thinking, and temperament.
The importance of attaining a good quality education cannot be underplayed. Education refines the mind of its learners and creates a space for every person to learn at the same pace, leaving no one behind. Studies have shown that people who have received an education are noticeably different from people who have not. A parent who has received a good education and knows the value of it automatically passes that passion for learning onto their children and generations after them.
To reach optimal levels, one must undergo the process of education. We are the reactionary agent in the environment so, our acts or omissions could affect the environment positively or negatively. Thus, for the environment to be positively impacted the populace must be educated.
As today’s students and youths will be tomorrow’s citizens and leaders, a good and relevant education is essential to turn aspirations into reality. Our youth deserve to be equipped with the skills and knowledge they need to thrive in an increasingly demanding and uncertain world. If we are to have a place to call home for our future generations in the next 30-50 years, we must prioritize education, otherwise, destruction of the world is imminent and inevitable.
There are various challenges faced in the educational sector globally i.e shortage of teachers, crowded classrooms, expensive tuition fees, absenteeism, a lack of availability of school supplies, a lack of resources for persons with disabilities, language barriers, insufficient government funding, outdated school curriculums coupled with poor implementation, parents' nonchalance to admit their children into schools, lack of access to education by marginalized groups, discrimination, racism, sexism, etc.
Let's take a look at some of them;
Overcrowding: Overcrowding is one of the major problems in many education systems. A study by the National Center for Education Statistics found that 14 percent of U.S. schools exceed capacity. Overcrowded classrooms are making it even tougher to learn and tougher still for teachers to be effective. This can lead to a chaotic classroom environment that is more difficult for the teacher to manage.
Shortage of Teachers or Staff: The issue of shortage of staff is predominant in many African countries and even other countries in the diaspora. Education systems are often plagued with few teachers due to low pay and burnout. In turn, new teachers are discouraged from coming in because they are overworked and underpaid.
Strikes: In Nigeria, the educational sector is plagued with incessant strikes. During these worker strikes, there's a brain drain of staff, lecturers, and students. The university's school calendar is also affected which in turn extends a student's years in school.
Absenteeism: This is a major problem in schools around the globe. Students are not regular in classes because most students are unenthusiastic about school.
Access to Education: Many people around the world still lack access to quality education. This is due to a variety of factors, including poverty, conflict, and discrimination.
Quality of Education: Even when education is available, the quality of education can vary widely. Some students attend schools with inadequate resources, poorly trained teachers, or outdated curricula.
Education and Technology: Technology is transforming many aspects of society, including education. While technology has the potential to enhance learning and expand access to education, it can also exacerbate existing inequalities and create new ones.
Education and Inequality: Education is often seen as a key factor in reducing income inequality by providing individuals with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in the workforce and earn a good living. However, access to quality education is not always equal, and many people face barriers such as poverty, discrimination, and lack of resources.
These challenges require a multifaceted approach that includes policy changes, resource allocation, and community engagement, promoting academic success, creating a more just and equitable world, and emphasizing global citizenship, to name a few.
Some other potential solutions to the challenges facing the global educational system include:
Investing in Early Childhood Education: Research has shown that early childhood education can have a significant impact on later academic success and life outcomes.
Encouraging Lifelong Learning: As the global economy becomes more complex, workers will need to continue learning throughout their careers. This requires a shift away from the idea of education as a one-time event and towards a model of lifelong learning.
Supporting Teacher Development: Teachers are a critical component of the educational system, and investing in their professional development can help improve the quality of education.
There are many organizations and initiatives working to address these issues and promote greater access to education and economic opportunity.
These solutions require a long-term commitment and sustained investment. However, by working together, we can create a more equitable and prosperous future for all.
\WRITTEN BY Sharon Eseoghene Ogbuehi.
Sharon Eseoghene Ogbuehi is a law undergraduate at the University of Benin City, Nigeria. She is a writer, a lover of literature, a baker, and a cook. She is interested in humanitarianism, politics, human rights, the rights of women and children, etc. Want to connect with Sharon? Follow her on Twitter, Instagram, or connect with her on Linkedin!
EDITED BY Chizulu Uwolloh.
'Zulu is a writer, self-proclaimed, bibliophile, and lawyer passionate about social impact and showing people how they can create change in their communities.
Want to connect with Zulu?