Are countries beginning to deprioritize education?
Unfortunately, statistics suggest that might be the case. Major donor countries in the international OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) Development Assistance Committee contribute billions of dollars to education every year. Normally, this money goes toward supporting the educational systems of developing countries, like Niger and Sierra Leone. However, countries seem to be decreasing how much they give.
[font="Times New Roman"] Between 2009 and 2012, for example, the amount of money going toward education fell by over 10%. That’s a pretty big drop- one that suggests that governments are concentrating less on giving aid to the schools that need it. [/font]
But that doesn’t mean everybody is caring less about education. In fact, big businesses have been stepping up to the plate.
[font="Times New Roman"] For example, it doesn’t seem like Google, Coca-Cola, and Verizon have much in common- other than the fact that they’re all enormous businesses, with a lot of recognition in their respective areas of specialization. However, all three companies share an additional, common initiative: bettering education. [/font]
[font="Times New Roman"] As their employees and customers take a stronger stance on improving education, these larger companies have also become more involved with strengthening educational processes. Coca-Cola, for example, provides supplies and donates to several countries across the globe, such as Argentina, China, and Chile; they also focus on building educational infrastructure and providing mentoring to teachers. [/font]
[font="Times New Roman"] Similarly, while Google may be headquartered in the U.S, it works to increase the number of students enrolled in schools worldwide. Google.org has also provided millions of dollars to educational organizations across the [/font]world,[font="Times New Roman"] and sometimes provides community grants to help out local schools. In the same vein, Verizon has provided tablets with data plans and other technological devices to underfunded schools.[/font]
So sure. While a search engine, beverage company, and telecommunications company don’t appear to have much in common, they do have one overlapping initiative- the expansion and improvement of education. So providing help- specifically toward education- still takes a spot on the priority list, even if a company’s focus is on trying to improve Internet quality, provide sustenance, or improve communication. It’s a pretty astonishing fact that just goes to show how widely acknowledged the importance of education is.
And the citizen populace is beginning to give more as well. In the United States alone, giving increased by three percent from 2016 to 2018. Americans, on average, also donated the largest percentage (1.7%) of their collective GDP (Gross Domestic Product-basically how much money a country makes each year) to charities. [font="Times New Roman"]They’re followed by New Zealanders, Canadians, and individuals belonging to the U.K (who donated .79%, .77%, and .54% respectively).[/font]
And while not all of these donations go toward education (they could be instead heading toward local foundations or humanitarian crises)- education is still the most-frequently-donated-to cause. In fact, donations for education comprise 14% of all donations at an approximate value of $58.9 billion. So education is pretty high up on the priority list for general individuals.
[font="Times New Roman"] The thing is, money isn’t the only thing that people have been donating- time is perhaps an even more valuable currency.[/font]
Over half of the U.S population has reported volunteering in the past year. This isn’t too surprising; volunteering is one of the most direct, and rewarding, ways to make an impact on those around you. And by dedicating your time to something separate from yourself, you not only provide help to others but forge personal connections. The pure positivity of this process makes it no surprise that people literally help themselves by volunteering; research has shown that volunteering has been documented to boost well-being, and decrease the likelihood of depression.
And there’s no shortage of ways to get involved. Local foundations, libraries, volunteer tutor centers, and Givology all offer ways for one to begin the volunteering process. (To learn more about volunteering for Givology, click [url=https://www.givology.org/get-involved/volunteer/]here[/url].)
[font="Times New Roman"] It’s true; in a purely monetary context, one could say that governments may have begun deprioritizing education. But that doesn’t mean businesses or individuals should follow their lead. Hold true to your beliefs and values- and remember; every individual can make a difference, whether it’s via money or time. [/font]
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