QUALITY EDUCATION MUST BE EQUAL TO EVERYONE
Image Credit: Nathaniel David Mallari
“What if the cure to cancer is inside the mind of a child who cannot afford quality education?”. I honestly no longer remember where I heard this question a few years back. However, one thing is certain. It hit me a lot that up until this day, I continue to reflect about it.
The education system of our country has continued to reach a high standard as it decided to implement the K to 12 curriculum. According to some graduates, the K to 12 program helped them in getting ready for their college journey by gaining more knowledge and enhancing their expertise on the field that they chose to partake in. Furthermore, by the time that everyone has been adjusting to this new system, the COVID-19 pandemic came into the frame. Thus, making the students feel more challenged, especially on how they will be able to survive in this situation.
It is true that the pandemic is just another hurdle that each of us must be courageous enough to go through. As some say, online classes are hard to handle since it’s far different from a face-to-face set up where you have company who share the same struggles and fight with you. However, the same mindset cannot be applied to those who are suffering due to it.
Imagine putting yourself in the shoes of a student who could merely afford education pre-pandemic. A student whose parents work with their body and sweat, just to provide for their family. A student who was relying on a teacher who comes to their small classroom built in the middle of the countryside. A student who has the passion for learning, but simply has no access to it. Believe it or not, that is the reality of our world. Not every student can experience the education that each of them deserve. This is due to many reasons, but the common ground of everything is usually poverty.
“In many countries where ChildFund works, school is free, but there are additional costs for uniforms, books and transportation, especially in rural areas, where a student may travel more than an hour each way by public bus to school. The expenses may be too much for a family to pay, on top of the money the family loses by not sending a child to work or even marrying off a daughter.
Some countries’ governments also spend a lower share of their gross domestic product (GDP) on education, which makes public education less available (particularly to the poor) and of lower quality. Overcrowded classrooms, broken desks, no computers — all are common sights in school districts with budgets that don’t meet students’ needs. Teachers burn out or may be unqualified to teach certain subjects. All of these challenges create a serious disadvantage for children growing up in poor households.”, this is a statement released by ChildFund, a child-focused international development organization that provides assistance to children facing poverty and other challenges in 24 countries,
Thus, far flung areas and the slums are usually populated with students who may afford education, but do not experience it in a high caliber or students who really can’t have any close access to it. So, what can you do? What can we do?
Addressing this concern is very important. With the powerful use of social media and using our voice through speaking and writing about it can help in educating others and make them enlightened about what’s really happening. Through this, we can hopefully inspire them to do the same by becoming their role model in a way of walking our talk.
Many organizations both youth-led and not, conduct projects to promote and raise awareness about quality education. As a matter of fact, these organizations usually seek for volunteers to widen their reach and create impact on a much wider scale. So, if you have time, make yourself productive by helping the future generation of our world.
Joining initiatives is one thing, but creating is another. As young as we may be, our age is just a number and cannot determine what we can. So yes, we are more than capable of initiating projects to make this issue more known and influencing our fellow youth to put this topic in the top-most priority as it should be.
At some point in our lives, we forget to appreciate the privilege that we have because not everyone gets to have the same life like us. As we learn how to recognize our differences, we should also learn how to embrace it and give back to those who do not see hope in the midst of the drowning waves.
As one of the most famous sayings stated by Nelson Mandela goes, “Education is the most powerful weapon to help change the world”. Indeed, our voices would matter for those who cannot speak up for themselves. Who knows, the child who’s gifted enough and accessed quality because of you, became the reason why the cure to cancer has been discovered.