Not all children go to school, or do so safely

OlympiaMay 31, 2014 

Being a retired teacher, I read with interest both your editorial concerning the kidnapped schoolgirls of Nigeria and the interview of Selamawit Adugna Bekele from Ethiopia. Thank you for reminding readers that not all children in our world go to school and not all of them are safe when they do go to school.

In 2012, I visited Africa. I watched a fifth-grade teacher in Uganda manage and teach 125 students in her class. The third-grade teacher had 97 children. These students copied from the blackboard into their notebook, which was their only textbook. In Tanzania I visited a school that had no water or food available. All day long, students eat and drink only what they can bring from home, which is little. I visited villages where children begged for money to help pay for school. Their parents could not afford the fees and cost of uniforms.

What can we do? We can encourage the Obama administration to pledge $250 million for the next two years to the Global Partnership for Education, the only international partnership dedicated to quality education for all. Since 2002 this organization has helped enroll 22 million students in school in nearly 60 of the world’s poorest countries.

Investment in education for all children will pay dividends in the future. And I can hope that some of those children I saw in Africa will get to go to school. Something they so desperately want to do.

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