By Makenna Adams
Amidst the pandemic, I’ve grown a deep appreciation for school. Working remotely, I yearn for the chance to attend in-person classes, where I can socialize, ask detailed questions, and learn hands-on. Though at times it proves challenging, I’m ultimately very grateful for my education. Unfortunately, not every child has the same educational opportunities that myself and children in the Bay Area have. In fact, children in poorer countries around the world are not even presented with the opportunity to go to school at all. There are a variety of factors that contribute to education scarcity, and they all deserve attention.
First, education scarcity exists due to a lack of funding for education in affected countries. In these countries, the education system often relies on foreign aid in order to afford to have children go to school. Yet only 20% of global aid for education goes to low-income countries, according to the Global Partnership for Education (GPE). Costing on average $1.25 a day, the expenses of 13 years of education for children in developing countries are barely, and rarely, covered.
The lack of classrooms also lends to education scarcity in poorer nations. As online students, we have experienced first-hand the difficulties that accompany learning outside of the classroom; we all have provided evidence with our compromised schooling that children cannot learn sufficiently without the right environment. In the East African country Malawi, for example, 130 children make up the average classroom size in first grade. With massive class sizes, distractions are impossible to avoid, teachers cannot give students individualized help, supplies are scarce, and overall, learning is compromised. Schools with few classrooms also lack necessary facilities like running water and bathrooms.
Finally, a large contributor to education scarcity is when children live in a country with active conflict or risk of conflict. War destroys any place it touches, and the education of countries is just one victim of combat. Violence in areas where children go to school makes them more likely to not attend school or drop out altogether. Global Citizen contends that, “Nearly 250 million children are living in countries affected by conflicts…75 million children and young people aged 3 to 18… are in 35 crisis-affected countries, with young girls 90% more likely to be out of secondary school in conflict areas than elsewhere.”