This post was originally published on HuffPost Canada
By: Maryam Rehman | Toronto, Canada
One of the most important concepts I've ever come across is the concept of an education itself. We live in a world where there are an endless amount of injustices that are going on, most of which can in fact be prevented by education. Education (lack of it) primarily held accountable for being the problem, but is a huge contributor to the solution. It is the solution.
We can begin with defining education in itself, what does this term actually mean? Education is, "The process of receiving or giving systematic instruction, especially at a school or university." To educate, is to give intellectual, moral, and social instruction to (someone), typically at a school or university.
Its origin is from old English, it came from the Latin word educat which meant "led out." It originated from the mid 17th century term duct, which, coming from the Latin word ductus, meant both "leading" and "aqueduct" formed from ducere, "to lead." With no mention of it having to be done through formal instruction. Simply a matter of leading one's mind, and exposing them to the wondrous world of knowledge.
The fourth Global Goal, is Quality Education, with the aim to "ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all."
Notice the use of the term, "quality" which implies that, the education needs to be of quality, and not quantity, or simply good reputation. There are a lot of schools built in areas all around the world that provide education, but it's not of quality.
Why is it that while we're all living on the same planet, there are worlds of difference between developed and developing countries when it comes to basic education infrastructure?
A child may learn more from a intelligent individual on the street than he/she ever would in a classroom with a teacher that's not dedicated to providing quality education for the child. Sometimes, it doesn't even have to do with the teacher itself, it could also have to do with the content that the teacher is provided with, and required to teach.
According to the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, every single person on this planet, has the right to an education. So why is it, that even today, in a time so advanced as ours, that 785 million adults worldwide are still illiterate? And why are two thirds of that figure women?
The problem we need to worry about even more, is the fact that people, are not educated about their rights, which leads to the uneducated constantly being taken advantage of, and put into horrible situations as a result.
Why is it that while we're all living on the same planet, there are worlds of difference between developed and developing countries when it comes to basic education infrastructure? It all has to do with one word, that can change everything. Access. Access to knowledge of one's world; access to the knowledge of what one's basic human rights are, and access to quality education. Entire regimes thrive under the lack of knowledge from their citizens, and the access to it, the understanding of it, ultimately leads to their downfall.
Time and time again, kingdoms and leaderships rise and fall, only to attempt to gain control using the same strategies that were used in the past. Is it so hard to consider that if citizens were granted the access from the beginning, then maybe they'd be more willing to give back to their communities in a positive way? As said by Maimonides, "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime." It all ties back to quality education, which will have significant long term effects on an individual, who will as a result have an impact on the generations to come, that will ultimately affect the nation and the world.
Access to quality education will be the difference between an uneducated member of society who'll ultimately do more harm than good, and a member of society who has the skills, information, and self confidence that makes better citizens overall. The educated are able to have the opportunity to discover themselves, their environment and world, and make better, educated decisions in regards to their futures.
Understanding that the long term effects of educated citizens includes not only individual benefits but also benefits to nations and the generations to come, has guided many thriving nations to putting the much needed emphasis on education. As said by Nelson Mandela, "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." It gives people the opportunity to think critically, and take action for their beliefs.
Although there are an endless amount of individuals who fight for quality education rights in communities all over the world, I'd like to highlight the work of one girl in particular.
After facing constant challenges to go to school -- by both society and her family, backed by her mother throughout her journey Humaira completed her education despite the odds. She then founded the "Dream School Model School" for street children -- to ensure that every child on the streets went to school as well. After endless struggle and commitment, she was able to become part of founding the Dream School Trust, and build a real model school.
What's unique about this school is that children are also taught Socio-economic enhancement education, Gender, Social and Civic responsibilities as well as Minority Right's education. Read more about the Dream School Foundation, their journey to this point, and the unique and effective quality education they provide to students, here.
I hope that if anything, you were able to conclude from this blog that an education, matters, and that examples are set by many organizations worldwide to be followed, supported and drawn inspirations from. From this blog, I'd love for you to take the message that, you are powerful, and if you see something you don't like in your community, country, or world, use your education, your knowledge, to change it.