Universal Education: Where to start?
In Vietnam, World Vision provides nutritious meals to
students at ECCDC and even serves them milk after nap time.
years ago, an Indian boy named Kailash Satyarthi saw a little boy shining shoes
at his school gate. Kailash then went up to the boy’s father and asked, “Why
don’t you send your son to school like me?” “We are born to work,” answered the
father. That answer shaped the future path of Kailash.
Kailash has devoted his life to helping child labourers return to school, and, in 2014, was rewarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his dedication. Kailash was delighted to see more attention drawn to the exploitation of child labour and the deprivation of their rights to education.
Kids from the ECCDC in Bolivia show the crafts they learnt in class.
In Hong Kong, many parents spend a lot of time and effort on planning for their children’s education. However, not all parents can do that for various reasons. For example, cases of child labour, like the little boy Kailash met, are still common.
There are many different stories behind the children who are unable to attend school. Although with the Millennium Development Goals, the number of primary school-aged children who are unable to attend school has dropped from over 100 million in 2000 to 25 million in 2014, not all children who do attend school are able to complete their schooling and some do not even acquire basic reading, writing, and numeracy skills.
According to the 2014 Global Education Monitoring Report (GEM Report), around 250 million children are not learning basic skills, even though half of them spend at least four years in school. How then, is that different from no schooling?
Most people assume that if children go to school, they will know how to read and write. Different countries, however, have different definitions of literacy. Generally speaking, a person should have attained a certain level of reading and writing skills at a certain age. But according to UNESCO, the definition of literary is broader. “Beyond its conventional concept as a set of reading, writing and counting skills, literacy is now understood as a means of identification, understanding, interpretation, creation, and communication in an increasingly digital, text-mediated, information-rich and fast-changing world.”
International Literacy Day is celebrated worldwide on September 8 each year. Let’s take this chance to reflect on how we can help all children to learn, regardless of their backgrounds!