Education Crisis

Education Crisis

What does school mean to you?

A place to learn? Where you meet your best friends? Hard times with assignments and exams?

In Hong Kong, we are fortunate to have 12-year free education. We learn to read and write at school. We acquire the knowledge that opens up the world to us and skills that equip us to be self-reliant. With education, we are empowered to take control of our lives, make better decisions and improve our living standards. We dare to dream about our lives.

However, to many poor children, school is their dream in life.

''It remained a dream for 11 years…11 long years,'' recalls Shoma, a teenager in Bangladesh. Poverty and hardship compelled Shoma’s father to send her to work as a maidservant in the house of a local affluent family when she was 8 years old. She only earned HK$47 a month.

''I was not allowed to go to school — but I would watch my master’s children go to school and well dressed, while I proceeded to do other housework,''

Shoma explains. Working in the kitchen, Shoma dreamed of going to school, dancing and singing.

Shoma’s dream came true when she met World Vision.

Yet, 124 million children and youths in the world are still out of school. Learn more about the barriers these children face and how you can help make their dream come true!

''One child, one teacher, one book, one pen can change the world.'' - Malala Yousafzai

SOURCE: UNESCO Institute for Statistics


Education is fundamental to a person’s well-being as well as the development of a society. Nevertheless, out-of-school rates remain high in many developing countries. 124 million children and youths, roughly between the ages of 6 and 14, are not in school. They have either never been to school or have dropped out.

That’s why one of the United Nation’s Sustainable Developmnt Goals (SDGs) for future development is to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.

Quick facts:

  • 1 in 11 children of primary school-age are not enrolled in school
  • Many children spend two or three years in school without learning to read a single word due to poor education quality
  • 750 million adults, of whom two-thirds are women, lack basic reading and writing skills
  • More than half of out-of-school children of primary-school age live in countries affected by emergencies

SOURCE: UNESCO Institute for Statistics, UNICEF


Why is education so important?

  1. Education beats poverty
    Education empowers people with knowledge, skills and job opportunities to overcome poverty. Education also brings economic growth and lifts communities out of poverty.

  2. Education saves lives
    Education prepares people to prevent diseases such as HIV and malaria. When people learn more about these diseases, stigma and discrimination would be reduced and people become more willing to seek treatment. Besides, educated mothers are better informed about prenatal care, proper nutrition, hygiene and healthcare and thus, reduce mother and child mortality and raise healthier children.

  3. Education drives development
    Education is also critical for the development of a stable, civil society. Besides knowledge and skills, it allows people to learn about their values, rights and responsibilities. Education is a powerful tool to achieve gender equality and environmental sustainability as it fights against ignorance and opens the minds of many.

Girls in India's slums learn about their rights and meet once a month to discuss the social problems and gender stereotypes in their community.
(Learn more)



Disaster and War

Syrian Children in Lebanon,
''Are you going to help me
go back to school?''
Over 100 million children and adolescents are affected by natural disasters and conflict. Most of them face disruption to their education as schools are damaged or destroyed. Students often resume their learning in temporary or makeshift schools until school buildings are repaired or rebuilt.

Unfortunately, it is much harder for war-afflicted children to resume schooling. Schools are smashed and some turn into military base. Homes are destroyed and millions of people, especially women and children, flee home for their lives. Many children end up as refugees in foreign countries where they are not entitled to local education. Although there may be temporary learning centres set up by humanitarian organisations, many have to give up their study and work to support their families.

Click here to learn more about the needs of Syrian refugees.


Poverty Trap

Education is a powerful way to overcome poverty. However, poverty is also the very thing that keeps millions of children out of school, confining them to a vicious cycle.

Children who live in extreme poverty face many obstacles to education:

  • Inability to afford school fees or supplies
  • Child labour or having to work at home and care for siblings (click here to read more about child labour)
  • Preventable illnesses like malaria or waterborne diseases
  • Weakness from malnourishment


Gender Inequality

Millions of girls are excluded from education just because they are girls. In some developing countries, the well-being of girls is often overlooked due to poverty, as well as, patriarchal mindsets. A girl child in a poor family is seen as an economic burden of the household. Parents and communities do not understand the importance and benefits of girls’ education. These girls often work to help their families – walking for hours to fetch water or staying home to care for younger siblings.

Some girls are afraid to go to school because the journey to and from school can be risky, especially where children have to walk long distances to school. In other cases, girls must leave their rural communities to pursue higher education in the cities, making them more vulnerable to violence and sexual harassment.

Early marriage practices also keep girls out of school. Families sell their daughters into marriage sometimes to settle debts. In some places, girls are never given their dues as they are considered their husband’s property, so investing in them is viewed as a waste of money. They suffer quietly as a result of indifference and are denied the equal rights as their brothers to health and education. Click here to learn more about child marriage.


More than half of all out-of-school children live in the sub-Saharan African region. High proportion of undernourished people and limited access to clean water are also major issues in this region. Without food and water, education is impossible.

Another region that requires our attention is the Middle East. Conflict in Syria has triggered the number of out-of-school children to jump from close to zero to almost 6 million.



How We Help

Life without education is a life without opportunity. We help children, especially the most vulnerable, to access quality education and attain functional levels of literacy, numeracy and essential life skills. When children can read, they can better advocate for their rights and help provide for their families.

What World Vision is doing:

Our Goals

We work with children, families, teachers, community members and local partners so that:

  • Children read, write and use numeracy skills
  • Children can access and complete education
  • Children make good judgements, can protect themselves, manage their emotions and communicate ideas
  • Adolescents are ready for economic opportunity
  • Teachers know how to make learning effective and fun
  • Parents are equipped to help their children learn at home
  • Community volunteers are trained to host after-school activities

Our Programmes

“Educated for life” is at the heart of World Vision’s education strategy. Our programmes are developed according to the specific needs of children at all stages of development: early childhood, basic education, and adolescence and youth.

Early Childhood Care & Development

Essential life skills such as communication and emotional regulation are built in the early years of a child. Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) is a readiness programme in nurseries, preschools and homes or community-based schools, with the aim to enhance children’s well-being and their acquisition of critical education and life skills.

Children in Myanmar learn manners and morals by listening to stories from caregivers at the ECCD Centre. They also learn how to eat properly and to use the toilet.

Basic Education

The "Unlock Literacy" programme helps primary schools children improve their reading skills which bring them lifelong benefits. The programme provides:

  • Reading Assessments to evaluate students need
  • Training to teachers on teaching methods and classroom preparation
  • Training to parents and communities on how to support children through out-of-school activities
  • Teaching and learning materials appropriate to the students

We also strives to enable the right to quality education for every child, especially the most vulnerable, by

  • Promoting equitable access by giving financial assistance or supplies such as uniform and stationery
  • Improving learning environments by building new schools or repairing existing schools
  • Strengthening School Management Committees

''We have never been to training like this before. I learnt about using facial expressions, body movements and variations in voice when teaching little children. We see change in the children because they also imitate us and are more enthusiastic,'' says Jayantha, a preschool teacher of a village in Sri Lanka.

Life Skills Development

This programme equips children from birth to 18 years of age to manage their thoughts, feelings and expressions in daily life and in difficult situations like poverty, crisis, conflict and marginalisation and to contribute to the well-being of their communities.

16-year-old Kittisak is no longer the shy boy he once was. After attending the life skills training, he has become more confident and facilitates child rights workshops in his community.

Girls' Education

In Africa, the Improving Girls’ Access through Transforming Education (IGATE) programme, supported by World Vision and other organisations, aims to identify and reduce the barriers that limit and hinder girls’ educational access, retention and learning outcomes. Read more>>

World Vision also conducts advocacy campaign to support universal primary education along with teachers and students to increase student enrolment in Pakistan.

School Feeding Programme

In partnership with the World Food Programme, World Vision implements school feeding programmes, where free nutritious meals help impoverished and hungry children stay in class.

''I can’t wait for school to resume so I can eat everyday.''

Doudensky and his family are survivors of the Haiti Earthquake in 2010. School feeding programme helps Doudensky to stay in class.

Education in Emergencies

Education in emergencies is a critical, life-saving response that works to protect children in conflict and natural disasters and preserve their right to education.

During an emergency we:

  • Work to insure access to learning and emotional support for pre-primary, primary and secondary school students
  • Set up Child Friendly Spaces for children to learn, play, and receive the emotional support they need to begin the recovery process
  • Help build the capacity of teachers and caregivers to support children’s continued learning regardless of where learning takes place
  • Provide teaching and learning supplies
  • Provide parenting support for mothers and babies to receive nutritional support, parenting counselling and mitigate the effects of the conflict on the developing child
  • Partner with schools and communities to build back better, and promote stronger schools that foster peace building and conflict resolution

World Vision’s education project provides hope for Syrian refugee children to prepare themselves for enrolment in schools when possible. Read more>>

Rugi happily shows her radio and says, ''Despite Ebola, I am still learning.'' Read more>>

Prior to a disaster or crisis, we work with schools and families to strengthen community based protection mechanisms through:

  • Preparedness training and planning
  • Conflict mitigation education
  • Peacebuilding

Education & Advocacy

World Vision in Hong Kong

We share the world's needs and stories through different ways, with the hope of touching more people's lives so that in the end even more lives across the globe can be touched and transformed. They include:


Ways you can help :