education in poor countries
Professor Susan Rockwell
15 August 2020
At times, we complain about having to do daily tasks, such as going to school and/or work. While we feel that we're struggling, there are others in other parts of the world that aren't as fortunate enough to do just that. As devastating as this sounds, there's always someone that has it worse than you do, so it's good to be appreciative and grateful of everything and everyone in your life. We have the opportunity to receive a proper education, while there are children out there that have to face many obstacles to get to where we are. Children in Third World Countries lack the necessary school supplies throughout their lifespan, affecting their education, due to poverty, poor education, and residence area.
It's difficult for children in Third World Countries to get an education, because they don't have the money to afford school supplies. We are constantly getting exposed to new technology which allows us to further our learning, while these kids don't even have as much as a pencil for school. Poverty is one of the major causes of the lack of education. As stated in an article, "Millions of children around the world do not go to school because their parents cannot afford school supplies. In many countries, if a child arrives at school without their basic supplies they are turned away. Imagine knowing education is the only way your child will have any future and you can't afford a notebook and pencil. What a tragedy this is" (Smith, p.1). This is very saddening. Imagine showing up to school and being told that you can't be there because you don't have what you need. In the United States, we see students being provided with laptops and being helped if they need any supplies. This is a huge privilege that many people take advantage of. Education is a human right that is taken away from children who don't even get the opportunity to learn. It's actually a lot harder to get out of poverty if you don't have a good education, because they're so intertwined.
Getting a proper education is like a key to saving yourself from poverty. The more knowledgeable you are, the more useful you can be to our society. The reason there's a lot of children in poverty is because they didn't receive a proper education, which would open up many opportunities to get out of this situation. Just like poverty is the cause of education, the lack of education is the cause of poverty. As stated in an article including facts on poverty and education, "Poverty and education are intertwined. In fact, one of the biggest contributors to global poverty is lack of access to education" (Quick Facts About Education, p.1). If you don't have access to education, it's harder to reach your goals of becoming who you want to be, careerwise. By not getting an education, it's harder to find jobs and making money can be difficult. It's basically a never-ending cycle, because by not getting an education, you can fall into poverty, but the lack of education is also due to poverty. This is something difficult to overcome, since one contradicts the other. It's definitely possible to come out of poverty. It may be a journey full of obstacles, but there is help you can get, and good education you can get if you seek it and really want it. If you're not trying, then life can get difficult, because most of us learn from our mistakes and failures, but to learn from them, we had to try in the beginning of that journey.
Less children are receiving an education, which affects their future greatly. According to an article I found, "Africa has the highest rates of educational exclusion in the world. Over one-fifth of children between the ages of 6 and 11 and one-third between the ages of 12 and 14 are out of school" (Project, p.1). A lot of the reason this is happening is because families with a lower socioeconomic status don't have the same privileges as those who are wealthy. Education is not something everyone gets to have, so it should be used as an essential tool to help guide you through life and provide you with different opportunities. A lot of students nowadays drop out, because 'it's not for them'. However, everyone has their own passion no matter what that is, and what people don't realize is that school is actually there to help that passion evolve, and perhaps maybe even change into something new that they would've never expected to like. Something as simple as talking to your classmates can be an essential skill to learn from school that you could use in the real world for your future career. Little things go a long way, and might even last forever. School teaches us a lot apart from actual school subjects, such as morals, politics, expressing your own opinions, communication, etc. As we've seen on television and social media, more teenagers and younger generations nowadays are taking action on issues we are facing as a society. Some of which are gun violence, climate change, and the Black Lives Matter movement. We've evolved and learned to become more involved in social issues. School taught us this.
Children in Third World Countries are accustomed to a different environment than us in the United States. In Africa, there's a lot of rural ground, so it's harder to find stores and other resources nearby. On top of that, it requires a lot of walking. Cars and other vehicles aren't as popular there as they are in other countries. Most of their daily activities require a lot of walking. If you walk into a classroom in Africa, you'll notice that it's very small. Children have to sit in a crowded room, sometimes with no desks and chairs as their work space. It's a very different environment, but it's something they've learned to get used to. If they were to be exposed to some schools in the United States, it would seem luxurious compared to theirs. As stated in an article, "The lack of schooling and poor education have negative effects on the population and country. The children leave school without having acquired the basics, which greatly impedes the social and economic development of these countries" (Right to Education, p.1). Poverty is a huge obstacle that prevents children from receiving an education. School doesn't seem too important when you feel that you're barely even surviving. When children leave school or don't even ever start attending school, it lessens their chances of getting out of the situation they're in. Students will drop out to try to help out their family, or just because they don't see what's so important about it. However, even if many might not see it, a proper education is a one way ticket out of poverty. It allows you to do something with your life. Not learning the basics, like how to read and write, already gives you a reason to struggle. Teachers do everything in their power to teach their students what they know so that they could learn from it and use it in their daily lives.
It's a little difficult to teach students with a lack of resources, so sadly, not everyone gets to learn the same. As it's stated on the website, 10 Barriers to Education That Children Living in Poverty Face, "Outdated and worn-out textbooks are often shared by six or more students in many parts of the world. In Tanzania, for example, only 3.5% of all sixth grade pupils had sole use of a reading textbook. In Cameroon, there are 11 primary school students for every reading textbook and 13 for every mathematics textbook in second grade" (PhineasJFR, p.1). Imagine having only one textbook for 13 of you to share. This must be very difficult, especially since classrooms in Africa are very small and have very little room. While we're constantly developing new and improved technology that'll help us evolve, they're using textbooks that aren't even up to date and getting denied an education if they don't have as much as a pencil. Education is a basic human right, but they're not even getting that, because they simply can't afford it. School also gives people an incentive for their future, because it provides hope and a quick look into your future when you figure out what you want that to look like in terms of your future career. It's saddening to know that students don't even get an opportunity like this. They should be able to have that available to them, and what they do with it is their choice. Not even getting to have that opportunity makes the situation even worse, because that takes away the future of many, and automatically makes life tougher for them. Some people genuinely like school and enjoy exploring new topics, just out of pure curiosity. This is what makes a student want to dive deeper into a certain topic. When a student enjoys what they're doing, it isn't something they have to do anymore, rather than something they want to do.
As part of my research, I wanted to get a little bit more of an insight on how people view this situation now, and in return, inform them a little bit about how they can help. I decided to interview a few people, including some of my previous classmates. One of the questions I asked was, "What are the essential school supplies?" Most of the answers were very similar, which included materials such as pencils, notebooks, erasers, etc. I decided to use this question, because not a lot of people really think about what the main and most necessary school supplies are, especially since now, we buy more than the essentials, such as different colored pens or multiple folders that we don't even use. Another question I asked was, "How do you feel about kids in third world countries not having the opportunity to go to school due to the lack of school supplies?" This question was asked to get them thinking about things that happen outside of the United States. The responses I got were very much as I had expected. Most of them said that they thought it was very saddening that we're basically given computers and new technology to work with for school for free, whereas they don't get to even have a chance to grow or learn new material just because they can't provide their own materials, and can't even afford as much as a pencil. Someone else also mentioned that it's devastating that they don't get the chance to even try in school and see if they find a passion through it. The last question I wanted to ask them was, "On average, how much school supplies do you think you waste and what do you do with them at the end of the school year?" This question was asked, mostly to show that these supplies could easily become of use just by donating them. If they're half used, the other half is still very useful. All of the responses were either that they throw them away, or donate them. After finishing up with the interviews, I gave them a little bit of knowledge on this issue so that they can get more insight as to what is occurring in other countries. Through the end of the interview, a few interviewees told me they were going to start donating all of their unused and extra school supplies and other materials such as backpacks and uniforms. This made me realize that by just talking about this issue, you can make a little bit of a difference.
There are people that are less fortunate than we are who need our help. Believe it or not, there are actually many ways that we can help. You don't necessarily have to live there or go visit to help. While doing research, I came across multiple websites that allow you to donate money or school supplies to the children out there who need it. These websites are helpful resources that allow you to help those who need the money to get an education. The organization called Bless The Children, provides students and teachers with school supply kits with the donation of your money (Smith, p.1). By donating money, you allow this organization to buy supplies for not only students, but also teachers, to try and help make their educational lives as successful as possible. They provide them with the essentials they need to get through the school year. There are other organizations out there just like this one that focus on doing whatever they can to help children get an education. As stated in a different article, "The children of high- and low-income families are born with similar abilities but different opportunities" (Greenstone, p.1). We are all capable of doing something we set our mind to. However, it can get difficult when there are obstacles, like money, along the way. We are all born the same, but if we grow up in a low-income community, then it's harder to get to where you want to be. Money is a big issue in our society, because without it, it's hard to get the resources you need. Honestly, a lot of our future depends on how much money we grow up with. With more money, comes more open opportunities, but with less money, comes more hard work and dedication. Those with less money just have to work a little harder to get to the top. Although, at the end of the day, it comes easier to those who have money, because they can use that as an advantage for different opportunities.
Children in third world countries are a lot less fortunate, because they don't have access to the same amount of resources we do. While we sit, type one word to get the information we need, and scroll through many websites for research purposes, they have old and outdated books that they use to get their information. Resources are limited. Imagine going into a classroom, and being sent back home just because you didn't have a notebook or a pencil. That opportunity gets ripped away from you for something as simple as having a lack of supplies. Taking advantage of the resources we have, to help others can have such a positive impact. By doing the research and looking for ways to donate and help, you allow these students to see a brighter future ahead of them. Talking about the issue and making it more known is also a great deal. Children should be allowed to have the same opportunities, no matter their socioeconomic status.