Education for Global Development
We live on a planet of 7.6 billion humans – a plant where we live in different parts, following roughly 4,200 religions, speaking approximately 6,500 languages and following millions of different belief systems and cultures. There is something that connects these billions beyond the political boundaries; the base of what remains identical across borders is education.
Humans evolved and developed with trial and error and as times pass by from one generation to the other, human civilization is transformed giving rise to a structured education. We can still learn and earn the understanding and experience through innovation but education makes the process faster and less painful. Truly stated by Aristotle, ‘It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.’ And that’s where we billions can live with mutual toleration and affection growing each day.
Now let us look at the practical aspect of global development through education. There are around eight ‘Millennium Development Goals’ set by the UN and one of the vital ones is universal primary education. Other goals which are on the list are:
- to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger;
- to promote gender equality and empower women;
- to reduce child mortality;
- to improve maternal health;
- to combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases;
- to ensure environmental sustainability; and
- to develop a global partnership for development.
So what exactly will change? How will education make a real difference to the world?
Health and awareness: No one can deny the fact that educated people are aware about the effects of unhealthy living conditions and lifestyle. They are more aware about spread of diseases and take precautions to stay healthy. Diseases like malaria, HIV/STD, diarrheal diseases and malnutrition can be reduced by building awareness. Good sanitation methods and safe food habits are developed even in the families that live in slums because of an educated family member. A number of Indian schools today carry out health and hygiene awareness campaigns to educate people in rural areas and slums about cleanliness.
Crime Rate: Education reduces crime; the youth is busy in progress and learning new things. They develop the mind-set to be able to analyse and correlate the impact of their current decisions-actions and the future. Their education develops logical and unbiased thinking which informs them whether to undertake or forgo an action that will have severe repercussions in the future, including actions of a criminal nature. Educated individuals prefer living a good life which means working hard, living a decent life and being responsible citizens.
Equality and Justice: Educated males are developing respect for their female counterparts and are sensitive towards their situation. Education increases the possibility that women will look after their own wellbeing along with that of their family. Educated girls participate in decision-making and are less likely to suffer from domestic violence and child marriage. Women are now becoming the back-bone of the family and are also bread-winners. Economic opportunities provide empowerment and enable women to have control over their lives and exert influence in society. Women who are educated seek justice against abuse, work place inequality and so on… We also have schools spreading awareness on social injustice like child labour and working on developing different projects to stop child labour.
Empowerment and Growth: Unemployment, poverty and hunger have been global issues of under developed and developing nations. Education opens up self-employment opportunities by imparting skills to learners which also lead to developing employment by these young entrepreneurs. Education has given students from across borders opportunities to connect and communicate and work towards building a better future and a better world.
Responsible Citizenship and Global Mind-set: We know on the political front the uneducated population is the most vulnerable and is influenced easily by the political parties. Educated public of the country is aware and can make better choice of leaders by not getting influenced by short term gains. Education also encourages the citizens to be more responsible and aware about their rights and duties. Human resource which is well skilled is also a world resource for innovation, growth and knowledge. Digitization of education has also made professional development and exchange of skills possible leading to rising opportunities and global development.
Education and Environment: The former Prime Minister of UK, Tony Blair, remarked, ‘Sustainable development will not just be a subject in the classroom: it will be in its bricks and mortar and the way the school uses, and even generates, its own power. Our students won’t just be told about sustainable development, they will see and work within it: a living, learning place in which to explore is what a sustainable lifestyle means.’ Most of the schools have plantation drives and have gone eco-friendly. STEM education and innovation is practiced in schools to come up with alternatives to save and preserve the environment. Teaching and learning 21st century skills integrating environmental education into the school curriculum, climate change and scientific literacy, disaster risk reduction and preparedness, education for sustainable lifestyle and consumption has been taking place in schools.
We are truly talking about preparing global citizens through education, education which is not just learning to count and learning languages and looking at maps in the atlas, but education that is talking about places around the world – their innovations, their issues and connects of the world. It is making thinkers for tomorrow who feel responsible for their actions and will grow up to be responsible global citizens.
** The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are eight goals with measurable targets and clear deadlines for improving the lives of the people around the world.
Kinnari Shah is a zealous educator involved in variety of roles from being a media teacher in UAE to being a teacher’s trainer and creative curriculum manager in India. I believe education is a tool to develop skills and that it’s only possible through a strong curriculum and training and hence have been involved in projects related to different curricula like CIE,CBSE, BTECH and IB.
I have been training teachers in design thinking, curriculum development, creative lesson planning, classroom management and techniques, NLP techniques in India and abroad.