Universal Education is the Key to Our Future
While most children in the United States learn to read and write in elementary school, and many go on to complete middle and high school as well, children around the world often don't complete their primary education. These children are left illiterate, uneducated, and with few opportunities to excel as they reach adulthood. Universal education has several benefits that should make it one of the top priorities as we look at assisting other countries.
Decrease Poverty Levels
Although children who are in school have less time to help their families, they are increasing their future earning potential dramatically. One study by World Bank showed a decrease in the percent of households that were poor correlated with an increase in the level of education attained in the Arab Republic of Egypt, Jordan, and the Republic of Yemen. The most dramatic correlation was in Yemen, where the percentage of poor households dropped from 60 percent of illiterate households to 10 percent of households with a primary education or more.
Lower Levels of Disease
Education leads to healthier children and lower levels of preventable disease. The statistics in this area are staggering, and education is tied to each one. For example, an article on Global Envision points out that in Uganda, students who had at least some primary education were half as likely to be HIV-positive than uneducated children, and students who had some secondary education were three times less likely to be HIV-positive. In addition, girls who receive basic levels of education see a lower mortality rate in their own children.
Promote Gender Equality
In many countries, girls are denied access to primary education by their families because of the high demand for extra hands at home and the cost of sending children to school. This leaves girls uneducated and lacking equality with men when they grow into adults. Universal education is one of the keys to giving women the same chance men get. In many areas, waiving the per-child fees for primary school was effective at getting more girls in school, according to Global Envision.
Increase Global Prosperity
Universal education does not only help the country in which it takes place, but also the global economy as a whole. Great minds come from around the world, and education gives future inventors, scientists and theorists the chance to become known. Providing children with a basic education could lead them to become passionate about learning, perhaps encouraging them to work their way to college and obtain a history, mathematics or a physics degree at http://www.physics.purdue.edu/career. In an increasingly connected world, the next revolutionary thinker could come from any country.
Educating children around the world is not just about teaching them how to read or do math, but also about changing the shape of these countries in the next generation. As these children grow up, they are less likely to be poor, less likely to have chronic diseases, and more likely to have their own children survive. In addition, universal education promotes prosperity and gender equality globally, making it critical for our forward progress.