Red Ink

Education is a gift

Sydney Booth, Editor-in-chief

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School is stressful, and it can be hard. It pushes us mentally and physically as we stay up nights to finish homework, study, and write essays. Especially around this time of year, we need to be reminded just how lucky we are to be getting an education. It is an opportunity not everyone gets. According to the United Nations Educational, Social, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), 264 million kids around the world don’t get to sit in classrooms for a number of reasons.

According to UNESCO, there are around 57 million children who do not have a school to go to because the nearest one is too far for them to reach. It is estimated that it will be 70 more years until schools are put in place that can reach every child. In 2014, the United States has approximately 131,890 public and private schools, according to the National Center for Education Statistics research. With about 290 million internet users in the United States, according to Statista, about 87 percent of Americans have access to online schooling. Education is available everywhere you look in this country.

Women are at a particular disadvantage when it comes to education in other parts of the world. According to The Guardian, there are about 130 million girls out of school. In places like South Sudan, only 17 percent of girls are literate. According to UNESCO, two thirds of the illiterate population worldwide, which amounts to 774 million people, are made up of females. Girls in Pakistan who receive only primary (elementary) education earn 51 percent of what men earn. Girls who attend secondary school (high school) make only 70 percent of what men earn. Only 66 percent of countries have reached gender equality standards in education, according to UNESCO. Not to mention the fact that there are some girls being persecuted by the Taliban for wanting an education. Remember Malala Yousafzai? She got shot in the head for wanting an education. And here I am, sitting in school complaining about essays and tests.

We are particularly blessed to live in a country that is not ravaged by war and conflict. According to UNICEF, there are about 25 million children out of school, displaced by war across 22 countries. In Syria, where war has already taken the lives of some 470,000, five of 10 children are out of school, according to Frontline. It’s no wonder many can’t get an education — one out of four schools in Syria has been damaged or occupied by insurgents.

And what about graduating high school? Here, it is a celebrated milestone to graduate, and an expectation after putting in four years of work. Can you imagine what life would look like if we knew we could not graduate, ever? According to UNESCO, in developing countries, only 45 percent of 15-17 year olds will complete secondary (high) school. That would be equivalent to only 263 kids out of this high school graduating.

At some point, most of us have uttered the phrase, “I hate school.” I’m definitely guilty of this. But what would life look like if we never got the chance to go to school? According to Our World in Data, there are approximately 265 million working children in the world. That’s almost 17 percent of the entire world’s population, and most of them work long days in agriculture. Especially in Sub-Saharan Africa, girls are forced into child marriage; 287 million girls in South and West Africa and West Asia are married by age 15. This number would decrease by 64 percent if all of the girls completed secondary school, according to UNESCO.    

 

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The Student News Site of Eaton High School
Education is a gift