Lack of Education: Root of All Causes
Every time a child in Niger succumbs to death out of hunger, it doesn't make it to the headlines, nor is the weeping face of the Indian mother whose unborn daughter has been killed inside her womb put out on the front page. Each time a Syrian wakes to bombardments, a reporter doesn't capture it, nor does every child compelled to toil makes it to our social media feed. 1 child in every 11 in Sub-Saharan Africa dies before his fifth birthday. Half of the world's undernourished children (stunted, wasted) live in South Asia. Their cries have gone unheard and plight unnoticed for too long, but why is a part of our world living in such deplorable conditions? Is someone accountable for their atrocities?
A little digging would tell us that living conditions worsen as literacy rates dip. The poorest countries around the globe have illiteracy rates as high as 80 percent; nearly half their population has never been to a school. We are 7.9 billion, and about a billion of us are illiterate and another billion functionally illiterate (even in countries like the US). 773 million adults and youth of our world lack basic literacy skills. We are a world living in the darkness where education remains a farfetched dream for millions of children. These children find themselves stuck in a vicious loop of poverty, marginalization, and lack of opportunities.
Image: Teach The World Foundation
The ramifications are crushing not only for the individuals but for the world as a whole. Lack of education causes not only poverty but further creates a chain of challenges nearly inescapable. Going to bed hungry each night, no roof over one's head, dying in sickness without any treatment are some cruxes people living in abject poverty endure. Hunger and poverty drives them to crime and terrorism and they end up becoming pawns in a vicious circle. These causes ripple outward to affect the society, country, and world as a whole when illiteracy rates rise as in Sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Asia.
2/3 of the world's illiterates are women. Uneducated women pose a more significant threat to society, and their education is critical for global development. An educated woman births lesser children, performs safer sexual activities, educates her children and family, and saves her life and child. Education empowers people to make better and safer choices. In countries like India, where female foeticide is still prevalent, education is a dire need to save lives, or in
African countries with extreme poverty, education can prevent deaths. Our eyes have long been accustomed to look towards the progressed nations of Europe and North America, where education helps prosper. Still, a large segment of our world needs the education to survive and combat evils.
Image: Global Partnership for Education
Education is the linchpin to not only defeat poverty, hunger, unemployment, and illness but, more than anything, broaden our horizons. Education puts a person in a better position to help himself, and only when one can help himself can he help others. There is no set path or guide towards eradicating poverty, hunger, and unemployment; no government or authority is up to that task. But every leap begins from a single step, and education is that step; it is our fundamental human right. Instead of counting what is wrong, we must change our mentality and ask ourselves how to make it right. A positive approach towards these challenges helps us to combat them better. Let us depart with words of wisdom by Malcolm Forbes, who said that education aims to replace an empty mind with an open one.
Written by: Anupama Chadha.
Edited by: Those Archaic Flaws.