By Julia Tofan
Despite successful gains in school enrollment rates, schools in developing countries continue to experience high absenteeism and drop-out rates. The top 5 reasons for dropping out are low quality education, poverty, child marriage, lack of support from families and communities, and lack of rural schools.
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[b]Problem: Low Quality Education[/b]
Schools in developing countries are likely to be overcrowded and lack textbooks, school supplies, and trained teachers.
[b]Solution: [/b]Providing teachers with training and support is one way to improve the quality of education. The [url=https://www.givology.org/~ceproject/]Community Education Project[/url] is doing just that by offering prospective teachers in Sri Lanka's rural tea picking communities training in education practices and English language skills. Teachers benefit by learning new skills, and students benefit by gaining access to trained teachers.
To go to school, students have to pay for tuition, fees, uniforms, and school supplies. In Uganda, the [url=http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/education/2007-07-21-africaschild_N.htm]average annual income[/url] is $300 USD, and the [url=http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/education/2007-07-21-africaschild_N.htm]cost of school fees [/url]is $100 per term.
[b]Solution:[/b] Universalizing free education and providing stipends and scholarships helps to decrease the direct costs of education, but some schools take a more creative approach to making school affordable. In Kenya, [url=https://www.givology.org/~fohpschool/]Fountain of Hope Primary School[/url] allows parents to volunteer in exchange for tuition. Beyond making education affordable, schools can help break the cycle of poverty by including vocational training in the curriculum. Skills from vocational training programs allow students to access high paying jobs after graduation and lift their families from poverty.
[b]Problem: Child Marriage[/b]
More and more countries are making child marriage illegal. However, it remains a common practice in many areas of the world because authorities ignore it. In the developing world, [url=http://www.icrw.org/child-marriage-facts-and-figures]1 in 9 girls[/url] are married before age 15. [url=http://www.icrw.org/child-marriage-facts-and-figures]1 in 3[/url] are married before age 18. Child marriage is associated with higher rates of domestic violence, higher rates of death due to pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease, and lower rates of education.
[b]Solution: [/b]In order to end the practice of child marriage, stricter policies must be created and enforced and communities must be educated about the importance of keeping girls in school. In addition, girls must be provided with safe places and support systems to help them discuss the challenges they face, learn and advocate for their rights, and continue getting an education.
[b]Problem: Lack of Support[/b]
Many parents depend on children to help run a farm, financially support the family, and participate in chores. Students whose parents don't have a formal education are much less likely to graduate primary or secondary school, contributing to a cycle of poverty and social immobility.
[b]Solution:[/b] Parents and communities show stronger support of students when they see results. [url=https://www.givology.org/~esuperkidz/]Eureka SuperKidz[/url], which works in rural communities in India, showcases the results of education by displaying student work and holding community events. Another way to increase support is to engage parents in the classroom, be it by hosting them as guest speakers, increasing communication between school and home, or holding workshops about education-related issues.
[b]Problem: Lack of Rural Schools[/b]
Students who live in rural areas often walk for hours to get to school, facing fatigue, health risks, and safety issues. In South Africa, 6% of students [url=http://mg.co.za/data/2014-07-22-how-do-south-africas-children-travel-to-school]walk more than an hour[/url] to get to school and 22% walk between 30 minutes and an hour. Peach Foundation student, [url=https://www.givology.org/~smying/]Shi Ming Ying[/url], lives 450 km from school, traveling 15 hours by car and 2 hours by foot every semester.
[b]Solution:[/b] To solve this problem, investing in infrastructure is vital. By expanding transportation and school infrastructure, schools can be made more accessible to students in rural areas.
For every obstacle that exists to education, there is a viable solution. [url=http://givology.com/get-involved/]Click here[/url] to find out how you can join Givology in putting these solutions into action and universalizing free, quality education.
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