What is ‘education’? Sounds like a very easy question, and everyone is well versed with how the Oxford Dictionary defines the term – “The process of receiving or giving systematic instruction, especially at a school or university”.
But in reality, the word has a much deeper meaning associated with it – ‘education’ is not just about gaining certificates. It is the means of understanding life, and knowing what we want. It is the tool to polish our thoughts and turn them into actions. It is an art of choosing between right and wrong, allowing us to make well-informed decisions. There have been great people like Rabindranath Tagore who didn’t go to school, yet he was one of the most learned men that the world has ever seen.
Generally, when we talk about education, what we usually mean is schooling, knowing the basics of reading and writing and getting to grips with the topics that we’re expected to understand. The parameter of literacy is judged by an individual’s capacity or write his/her name in any language, preferably in the mother tongue.
What statistics have to say?
According to the UNESCO data, more than 17% of the total world population is still illiterate, of which two thirds are women. Undoubtedly, this makes gender equality more difficult to be attained. In most of the developing countries, the situation is worse compared to the First World Countries. An estimated number of 122 million youths and nearly 67.4 million children are currently uneducated and dwell in some of the most poverty-stricken lands of the World.
While Europe and America are at a much better position, countries in Africa and Asia tend to be affected the most. Several government and non-government organisations have taken up the issue of education, and thousands of youth who believe in the proverb – ‘Each One Teach One’ – have stepped forward to make a difference. This means, that once we have been taught something it is our duty to pass this information onto others.
How can you contribute for eradication of illiteracy?
It is always easy to talk about a problem from outside, but if you are really concerned about this grave matter then try to be a part of the solution, and contribute in whichever manner you can.
While many people initially chose to donate money for the cause, what better way to truly get involved than donate your time to assisting the people around the world who are in need.
One of the best ways that most of the millennials are opting is to volunteer for the cause of education. Thousands of University students, gap year travelers and even professionals are traveling abroad to spend time with children across the globe, and spreading love and knowledge among them.
In countries like Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, India and Vietnam, many children dwelling in slums don’t have the opportunity to be schooled. Even if they do, those schools suffer from a lot of inadequacies like lack of staff, lack of facilities or equipment and more. The infrastructural facilities aren’t proper, and many kids stop going as they don’t find the process of learning interesting.
What is necessary in this case to focus more on activity based learning – where kids can be involved in the process of teaching, so that it’s more of a communicative procedure than a typical class.
Where should you look?
You don’t have to be an experienced teacher to offer your help – all you need is patience and perseverance to be there for these children, and make them learn something that would help them in later years of their life.
If you are thinking of how to be a part of the change, then take the first step of volunteering. Travel to a new country, and spend some time with children who need you. From my personal experience of volunteering in a tribal school of India, I can assure that it’ll be one of the most satisfying chapters of your life.
And not only will you make a difference to someone else’s life, but you’ll also inspire other people to think about the cause and doing something for it.
If we want to have a better tomorrow, then we have to spread the light of education – as that is key to make the world a better place to live.