Education is important for various reasons: first, and foremost, is its intrinsic benefit in improving a person’s quality of life. No child should ever be left behind, whether it’s due to where they live, their gender, or their family’s economic standing.
Education is also key in improving a family’s, community’s, and country’s economy and workforce: if all adults completed a secondary education, we could cut global poverty in half. It is interlinked with many other social issues, such as gender pay gap, gender equalities and domestic violence. By tackling one issue, you can positively impact many others. The returns on education are high: every additional year of school, not only increases wages by 8-10%, but it also leaves girls less vulnerable to violence. An education can mean the difference between life and death.
Finally, education also plays a key role in pulling communities out of poverty and increasing the economic power of low-income countries. COVID-19, however, has impacted education, students, and teachers in different ways globally. Here’s how ONE Youth Ambassador, Laura, is drawing attention to that.
COVID-19’s impact on students
COVID-19 has hit everyone hard, especially school-aged children and students around the world. The current global pandemic has seen 91% of the world’s student population affected by current school and university closures. Of the 1.6 billion students out of school, 743 million are girls.
With the transition from the classroom to online platforms, we are seeing a discrepancy in education access between boys and girls: in low- and middle-income countries, boys are 1.5 times more likely to own a phone and 1.8 times more likely to have access to the Internet than girls.
That is why earlier this year on Malala Day — an annual celebration on 12 July in honour of education activist Malala Yousafzai — I organized an action to highlight that access to education is important, particularly now more than ever.
Raising awareness for global education
With COVID-19 measures still in place, we needed to be creative in raising awareness. I decided a great way to bring awareness and still socially distance would be to do a chalk action. A small group of us Youth Ambassadors took to the Brussels streets, spreading this message by writing stats and facts in chalk on pavements in both French and English.
We drew attention from passers-by and shoppers, andto reach a wider audience and generate even more awareness, we shared our actions all over Twitter.
We were even retweeted by none other than Malala’s father himself!
But this action doesn’t stop there!
Online learning and its effects on teachers
The transition to online schooling has been equally as difficult on teachers. For World Teachers’ Day (October 5), I wanted to show our appreciation to the teachers all around the world for all of the hard work they have been putting in to deliver the education that our children and students need.
Working alongside a ONE Global Activist in Africa and a Global Activist in North America, we planned a short video where we interviewed three teachers from our three different continents to talk about their experiences teaching during the pandemic, and on their views on why education is so important to them and why it is so important globally.
Are you curious about what they had to say? Have a look here:
As you heard, the situation is very tough but we, as ONE Global Activists, won’t stop fighting for education for every boy and every girl around the world, because education is a right, and closing the gender gap begins with schooling. Education is key. Education for all.