By Swanica Shah

School: /skuːl/ n. an institution for educating children. But are students actually becoming educated? In rural India, nearly three-quarters of third-graders cannot solve a two-digit subtraction problem such as 46 minus 17, and by grade five — half still cannot do so. 

The world is combating a learning crisis! Low-income countries in Central and Southern Asia and sub-Saharan Africa are most affected, where 80% of students (between ages 12 and 14) do not reach the standard expected reading levels or math skills. The learning crisis is a result of students being provided with poor quality education, owing to the fact of the lack of attention each child receives, unqualified teachers and insufficient resources (for example, technology). In a third of countries analysed by the Report, less than three-quarters of existing primary school teachers are trained to national standards. It is often assumed that education will guarantee the gain of knowledge but in many situations, students aren’t benefiting. Free education is not always quality education! Pauline Rose, director of the EFA Global Monitoring Report, said: “What’s the point in an education if children emerge after years in school without the skills they need? 

A high-grade education opportunity will help students cultivate skills which have the power to enhance their future and their country’s. The country is in the hands of the future generation but if their talents are being suppressed by the lack of quality education, whose hands is it in? The 80% of the students, from the low-income countries, may not even be able to perform simple tasks such as reading directions if their education is not corrected. Each year of education can raise a child’s future income by 10-20%, education is a destitute child’s route out of poverty. Students who miss out on the opportunity to build their foundation are not presented with the same job opportunities later on, for there are more privileged job seekers who were given the chance to build their communicative, literacy, mathematics, technological and critical thinking skills. Therefore, individuals without a quality education are more likely to be unemployed.

Often, governments spend on education without collecting data and wasting their resources instead of allocating them efficiently. The 11th Education for All Global Monitoring Report reveals that a global learning crisis is costing governments $129 billion a year. Which is; 10% of global spending on primary education being wasted on poor quality education that is failing to guarantee that kids learn. Investing in improving education can optimise benefits and has long-term effects for the economy, it aids in lessening poverty. The 11th Education report also states that improving education can increase the country’s GDP by 23% in 40 years as it creates more job opportunities which can take the country forward. 

How can we solve this issue of the learning crisis? Teachers! A crisis of teachers could be the core reason for a learning crisis. Teachers are our role models, they are given the onus to shape our developing minds and are creating the future generation through spreading the love of learning and making sure ALL students are learning. Haven’t we all had that one teacher (the superhero) who was able to transform our perception of the subject? Despite teachers holding so much value in society, some education systems do not pay attention to the qualifications and they aren’t provided with incentives or high pay, lowering the value of being a teacher. For a genuine education, teachers need to be given good incentives and trained well according to student needs. Governments need to become more aware of areas of improvement and implement well-structured plans to optimise the benefits of education which will affect the country in the long-term. 

https://www.worldbank.org/en/news/immersive-story/2019/01/22/pass-or-fail-how-can-the-world-do-its-homework

https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2018/08/global-learning-crisis-millions-without-basic-skills-unesco/

https://en.unesco.org/news/global-learning-crisis-costing-129-billion-year

(https://www.worldbank.org/en/news/immersive-story/2019/01/22/pass-or-fail-how-can-the-world-do-its-homework#

Swanica is an 11th grader at Ascend who enjoys playing golf, writing poetry and travelling. She is very passionate about learning about businesses but would like to gain exposure to other aspects too. She is a vivacious member of her school community and was also the president of the student council who would like to use this as another opportunity to benefit her school.

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