Students at the UCL School of Management understand the importance of a good education and the opportunities it can bring. To mark International Day of Education, Unibuddy Ambassador and MSc Business Analytics student, Amanda Dickwella Vithanage, shares why she believes the fight for access to quality education is so important for all young people.
THE CURRENT SITUATION
Currently, UNESCO has stated that 244 million children are out of school, 617 million children and adolescents cannot read and do basic math and 771 million adults are illiterate. Large gender gaps still exist in education across various circumstances; in some regions, boys are at a disadvantage but most often, education in the region come at the expense of girls. Countries struggle to break the deeply entrenched systemic issues surrounding poverty and gender imbalance that come from a lack of education.
This cycle will keep repeating if strategic framework(s) and policies are not implemented effectively and sustainably to provide equitable education and opportunities for all. To raise awareness and continue the conversation surrounding the importance of education, the United Nations General Assembly declared the 24th January as International Day of Education in the hopes of leading the development of education systems in all countries.
WHAT EDUCATION MEANS TO ME
For me, I whole heartedly believe that education provides a security blanket; with it, comes knowledge, power and safety. Early education builds a foundation to create new skills and makes up the building blocks of your understanding of good communication, teamwork, critical thinking, resource allocation and time management.
These are the skills that are not explicitly taught, instead are developed and absorbed over time throughout your academic life. This applies to all industries, not just the typical subjects people assume we should learn more about or the career paths society subconsciously values more. All industry skills require practice, and that starts with education. The soft skills that appear to be intrinsic are built upon gradually and enhance our emotional intelligence; vital in being able to meet cultural differences with compassion and resolving conflict without violence. Thereby helping to achieve a safer and more peaceful world, one we should always strive for.
THE ROAD AHEAD
Freeing up limited resources for social needs is a complex and challenging task. The UN therefore believes that gathering more data to inform action towards effective change, as well as implementing better legal and policy frameworks to improve teaching and learning practices, are crucial in driving positive change. This will inevitably take time so what can we do individually and as a collective within everyday society to ensure we can achieve a more equitable and impactful education system for all? A question that most governments and intergovernmental organisations struggle to solve successfully. Despite the efforts made, the journey to reach an equitable educational system across the world is long and arduous but it is a matter worth advocating and fighting for.