When most students hear the word school, they immediately either groan or think about it in a negative way. It is difficult to wake up at 6 a.m., go to school for eight hours, then go home and do homework for another two or three hours. However, in the United States, we are privileged enough to have access to education.
Many children in other less fortunate countries would beg to get up at 6 a.m. to have access to education. According to the U.S. Department of Education, about 50.4 million children around the world attend school, whether it is private or public, elementary or secondary. Seventy million children do not attend school.
Children in Africa and Asia do not receive education due to a lack of funding in the classroom itself. Financing for education has decreased at an upsetting rate. From 2009 to 2012, the rate has decreased by 16 percent worldwide. In the next four years, developing countries that are in partner with GPE (Global Partnership of Education,) are in danger of a shortage as large as 34 billion dollars for primary and secondary education. In a classroom where the teacher does not understand what they are teaching, it would obviously be extremely difficult for a child to learn. This is a problem that most schools are facing. Less than one-third of teachers are trained to national standards, failing to teach their students basic knowledge such as math or language arts.
Besides having teachers who are untrained, having no actual classroom also creates an issue in a learning environment. With classrooms nearly falling apart, classes of 130 students to go outside with their teachers and learn. In addition to no available classrooms, there are also little to no bathroom facilities. Only one-third of available bathrooms are for females creating a barrier for girls who have their menstrual cycle. In the country of Chad, only one in seven schools in the country that have potable water to use.
Having no potable water to drink or use creates major health issues. Children are forced to leave their school due to health problems and the risk of getting others sick. Throughout third world countries, subjecting children are subjected into violence and welfare. With the children who do go to school in these conflict-affected nations, only 65 percent complete the final grade of primary school. This is a huge comparison to developing countries that see 86 percent of children complete primary school.
Due to gender discrimination, women struggle to get an education. Women in areas such as Sub-Saharan Africa are getting married at a young age, some as young as 7 years old. This takes away their opportunity of learning, as they now have to start a family and run a household. In addition to marrying young, the importance of a girl going to school in third world countries is not a top priority. In some communities, schools are not necessarily down the street from a family’s house. Schools can be four to five hours away and walking to and from them is not an easy task.
One example of a woman fighting against the odds for her education is Malala Yousafzai, who was shot by the Taliban for speaking out for education. After Yousafzai survived the attack, she became an advocate for women’s education around the world and founded the Malala Fund, to bring awareness impact of girl’s education and for girls to find their voices.
So when your alarm clocks goes off at 6 a.m. and you’re dragging yourself out of bed and out the door, and getting on the bus or having your parents drive you to school, just remember you are living a life that only some can dream of.