Thursday, December 10, 2015

December 10

Today is Human Rights Day!  Human Rights Day commemorates the day on which, in 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  In this Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which still lasts 67 years later, education is included as a human right:

Article 26.

(1) Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.
(2) Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.
(3) Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.

  Education is not a privilege set aside for a small percentage of humans: it is a universal human right, deserved by all.  It is time for us all to come together to actually give this right to every human being.  Happy Human Rights Day, and may we all remember the rights we have and strive to ensure that everyone is afforded the same protections and freedoms we are.

December 9

Today's Tweet was: "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime." --Maimonides

This proverb, repeated so often and in so many different contexts in the modern world, still rings true, especially with global development.  One of the largest arguments against foreign aid is often the idea that people in third-world countries will become dependent on handouts from countries like the United States and never truly break free from the vicious cycle of poverty.

This is why education is such a powerful tool.  When developed countries and non-profits support education and aid schools in impoverished places, children (and in some cases, adults) are given a true chance to break out of poverty by learning valuable reading, writing, and math skills that will help them find a job as well as basic medical instruction that helps prevent disease.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

December 8

Today's post is just a statistic that truly shows the importance of increasing literacy rates around the world: According to UNICEF's report on global education, if every student in low-income countries had basic reading skills, 171 million people would be lifted out of poverty- a 12% overall cut in global poverty. And that's just basic reading skills: imagine what we could accomplish if every student went to school through 8th grade? Or even graduated high school?  Education truly has the power to change lives.

Monday, December 7, 2015

December 7

Many people have probably already heard of Malala Yousafzai, an unbelievably brave human-rights advocate from Pakistan who is also the youngest-ever recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, having won it in 2014 at age 17. Malala's story is an incredible one: continuing going to school after warnings and threats from the Taliban, Malala was one day shot in the head on her way to school.  After a remarkable recovery, she has continued advocating for education, especially for girls, and has gained worldwide recognition and respect for her dedication and courage.

The Global Partnership for Education, a non-profit that works at all levels to give more children the education they deserve, teamed up with Malala to make this video, addressing some of the challenges facing education around the world and areas in which we have already made progress.  Let Malala's strength be a lesson to everyone, that we must never give up when fighting for a good cause.  As she states in the video, "Education is a right for every person.  Let us stand together and do what has been promised for so long."

Sunday, December 6, 2015

December 6

Education is about more than learning the alphabet and Times Table.  It doesn't just make people smarter, it makes them better prepared for their future.  UNESCO's (the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization) report on education shows that education is an effective tool to combat poverty from all sides.  This image shows all the benefits of promoting education around the world, and why it is so important.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

December 5

Today's post lines up with my daily Tweet.  American philosopher Allan Bloom once said, "Education is the movement from darkness to light."  This quote effectively and simply shows the true goal of promoting global literacy and education: bring people out of the shadows and into the light.  Education opens doors and gives people opportunities that they never could have had before: the ability to get a well-paying job, take charge of their own finances, stay connected with the greater global community, and most importantly, help protect their family from disease and violence.  Education can bring hope to those who have none and a chance at a brighter, healthier, better future to hundreds of thousands of children, if only we can bring it to them.

December 4

This is another great video created by UNICEF's Education for All initiative that sheds more light on the subject of children's education and literacy, as well as what easy steps can be taken to make sure as many children as possible are receiving the education they deserve.  It may be an uphill battle, but this video shows that someday, if we work together, every child may be in school.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

December 3

"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." --Nelson Mandela, former president of South Africa and 1993 Nobel Peace Prize laureate.  Education, like machine guns or nuclear missiles, is a weapon which can be developed and used for good or ill, to enlighten or to brainwash, to spread peace or spread oppression.  But when it is done right and fair and free, education is a wonderful tool that excels at making the world a better place.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

December 2

Sometimes our first thoughts and preconceived notions don't match up at all with reality, and other times we may know more about a subject than we think.  Take this quiz on the Global Partnership for Education's website to see how much you know about education and literacy worldwide!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

December 1

1 in 10 children worldwide are not in school.

The Education for All Initiative, started and sponsored by UNICEF (the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund), is a prominent player in the sphere of global literacy.  This video of theirs is a great introductory source to the topic and hits on a lot of key statistics surrounding children's education and some of the reasons why 10% of children around the world do not go to school.  Watch it!

Monday, November 30, 2015

General Info

Happy December!  As part of my final project for my Global Development class, I am being asked to "share your passion for an issue by promoting awareness and ultimately inspiring action in others."  Global literacy/education is a cause I feel very strongly about; it is statistically proven that as literacy rates increase, poverty decreases.  My plan for this project is multi-faceted:

  • Raise awareness for the problem of illiteracy by posting daily throughout December about the subject on Twitter- short statistics, quotes about the importance of education, and occasional links to additional sites and sources
  • Post daily on this site, sometimes the same things as on Twitter, sometimes longer, more detailed posts
  • Design and create a mural to be hung somewhere on MMU campus to further the school community's awareness
  • Most importantly, the MMU Model United Nations Club will be leading a serious debate over the subject of global primary education sometime this semester.  This simulated UN event will inspire other students to think deeply about how the global community can work together to put all children in school.
  • A potential fundraiser later in the school year with all proceeds going to the Global Partnership for Education, a non-profit organization which works at all levels of education in developing countries to give all children the education they deserve.  For more info, go here.

Join me on Twitter @gretchenelisew for quick daily updates and info!  Thank you so much for following along!