Updated: May 7
By: Kent Bubbs Sr, Founder of Universal Outreach Foundation
At no time in history has there been so much research devoted to education. And yet, quantitative studies using sophisticated data gathering and analysis just don’t reveal the whole story.
As African students sit on the edge of their seats and enthusiastically raise their hands for every question asked, one can only conclude that these kids really want to learn and deeply appreciate the opportunity to do so. Perhaps it’s because 30 million of their school age peers in sub-Saharan Africa alone, don’t have this opportunity. With the vast amount of the world’s poor living in Africa and earning less than $1.90/day, sending a child to school isn’t always a financial option.
The Education Goal Is Set - Are We Reaching it?
75 years ago, the world agreed to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states, “Everyone has the right to education; education should be free at least at the elementary level and be mandatory.” In 2015, 193 countries signed up to support the UN’s seventeen ‘Sustainable Development Goals’ with an achievement target of 2030. Goal #4 is education, it calls for “every child in the world to be educated thru secondary school”.
Are we on track? Apparently not.
According to Jeffery Sachs, economist and global leader in sustainable development, UNESCO says we need $30 billion a year to reach this goal, but the G7 said “We love education” and pledged only $3 billion/year for it.
Denying of the rights of vulnerable children can no longer be tolerated. The African economy went from a growth of 2.2% in 2019 to a contraction of 3.3% in 2020, plunging Africa into recession; forcing financially challenged countries to cut their education budgets by two thirds and the UN expects foreign aid for education will fall 12% this year.
How does this affect you?
The total fertility rate (births per woman) in sub-saharan Africa is 4.7% as of 2018, are the highest in the world according to the World Bank. Education can help turn this trend around. Failing a revolution in education resulting in a major decline in the birth rate, there will be 2.8 billion people in Africa by the turn of the century. Only educated urbanites in Africa have measurably reduced their family size, which is proof that education plays a key role, along with poverty reduction, in reducing population growth; something that effects all of us.
How do we jump-start this revolution in education to deal with this grotesque inequality in education?
Only those of us in the rich world have the capability but, we are not doing it.
Just one in five Canadians donate to charities. Their giving represents only 0.5% of their reported income and has dropped by 20% since the start of the pandemic to the lowest point in 20 years. All at a time when we are richer than any time in history.
If giving had stayed at the same level as 30 to 40 years ago, there would be over two billion dollars more donated each year by Canadians. This decline has happened when, with tax incentives, it has become less costly to give to charities.
Is there not more we can do?
It costs, on average, $8,500 a year to educate a child in a wealthy country. In Sub-Sahara Africa, the cost is only $480; about $40 a month ($1.33/day) for an elementary school education and $720 per year or $60 per month ($2/day) for secondary school.
We must work harder to convince people that sharing our wealth is not only the right thing to do, but is absolutely necessary.
“There is no better investment in this world than in a child’s education”