A comprehensive overview of various interconnected issues related to poverty, education, inequality, and social inclusion, we hereby touch base on several important pointers and break down some of the key ideas and themes:
So, the need for a comprehensive and inclusive approach to education that addresses economic, social, and cultural inequalities, underscores the importance of recognizing diverse identities, promoting social justice, and aligning education with broader human rights and sustainability goals is indispensable. It will resolve the ongoing challenges posed by various global issues, including climate change and pandemics, that further complicate efforts to ensure quality education for all.
Some other catalysts that cater to education becoming universal include:
Pointer 1. Financial investment:
Increased funding for education, particularly in low-income countries, can help alleviate poverty-related barriers and improve access to education. This can include investments in infrastructure, teacher training, and scholarships for marginalized students.
Poverty and Educational Disparities: Poverty remains a significant barrier to accessing quality education, particularly for marginalized groups such as females, people with disabilities, those in conflict areas, and those in remote or marginalized locations. Poverty’s compounding effects intensify educational disparities.
Poverty remains a crucial determinant of access to educational opportunities. It is a compounding factor that intensifies disparities for female students, those with disabilities, those experiencing instability and conflict, and those who are marginalized in marginalised language, or remote locations. The global economy has grown two and half times in size between 1990 and 2020, driven essentially by the rapid economic growth in countries of East Asia and the Pacific, particularly China, and the consistent enlargement of the economies of high and upper-middle-income countries. Lower middle and low-income countries, on the other hand, only accounted for one-tenth of the global output, even though they were home to half of the world’s population in 2020. This results from the widely divergent growth rate across regions over the past thirty years.
Global Economic Growth: The global economy has grown significantly over the past few decades, largely driven by rapid growth in East Asia and the Pacific. However, lower-middle and low-income countries have not seen comparable growth, leading to imbalances in global economic output.
The economies of China and sub-Saharan Africa had similar sizes in 1990, representing some 2% and 1.5% of the global economy, respectively. Thirty years later, China accounts for 16% of the world GDP, while sub-Saharan Africa represents a mere 2%. Global economic growth has led to improving individual incomes and living conditions and reducing global poverty rates. World Bank data shows that international annual per capita income increased by 75% between 1990 and 2020. While more than a third of the world’s population was considered poor in 1990, today’s global poverty rate is under 10%. However, the reduced pace of economic growth in low-income countries hinders progress in poverty reduction and hopes for income inequality reductions. The challenge of eradicating global poverty persists. Indeed, despite the worldwide decline in poverty over the past thirty years, nearly 690 million people worldwide still live in poverty, on less than two US dollars a day.
Reduction in Global Poverty: Despite an overall reduction in global poverty rates, millions of people still live in poverty, especially in low-income countries. Poverty reduction efforts are hindered by the slower economic growth in these regions.
According to the World Bank, a quarter of the world population, or some 1.8 billion people, lives on 3.20 US dollars or less a day. Two-thirds of those poor are children and youth under 25 years of age. Poverty and income inequality intersect with other factors of discrimination that lead to educational exclusion.
Pointer 2. Gender equality initiatives:
Efforts to address gender discrimination and promote equal access to education for girls are crucial in achieving universal education. This can include initiatives to eliminate gender-based violence, provide menstrual health support, and promote equal opportunities for girls in STEM fields.
Gender Disparities: Gender discrimination intersects with poverty and other factors to marginalize girls from accessing education. Efforts to achieve gender parity in education are more challenging in the lowest-income countries and sub-Saharan Africa.
Gender discrimination, for instance, compounds significantly with other intersecting factors such as poverty, indigenous identity, and disability to further marginalise girls from their educational rights. While most income groups and regions are showing convergence towards gender parity in school enrolment, this is not the case in the lowest-income countries or sub-Saharan Africa. UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) data shows that for every 100 boys of primary school age out of school in sub‐Saharan Africa, there are 123 girls also excluded from education. The exclusion of girls is even more pronounced in lower and upper secondary education. In the lowest-income countries, the poorest girls spend on average two years fewer in school than boys. This gendered drop-off, particularly in secondary education, indicates how much more needs to be done to retain girls for the entire lifespan of their education. Initial access is insufficient they are ensuring that girls complete a whole cycle of secondary education is a responsibility beyond educational institutions. It relates to the social and economic challenges that girls continue to face around the world, particularly at the age of public issues such as early marriage or early and unintended pregnancy, domestic work, and menstrual health and stigma.
Pointer 3: Recognizing diverse forms of knowledge:
Embracing and valuing diverse forms of knowledge, including indigenous knowledge and cultural heritage, can create a more inclusive and relevant education system. This includes integrating local languages, traditions, and perspectives into the curriculum.
Disability and Education: People with disabilities face barriers to education, particularly in the absence of inclusive policies. Poverty exacerbates these challenges, and education systems should strive to include disabled students in the least restrictive environment.
Disability affects access to education across all regions and income groups when education systems do not have inclusive policies in place education experienced by those with disabilities is significantly compounded by poverty. Many children living with a disability are in poorer countries. At all ages, levels of both moderate and severe disability are higher in low and middle-income countries than in rich countries. Poverty is both a cause and a consequence of disability, and education systems must support the right to education for students with disabilities, and, to the greatest possible extent, include them in the least restrictive educational environment. It is important to recall that vocational skills development is not restricted to formal education and training and that youth in the significant informal economies of many countries may have access to traditional apprenticeships or conversational skills development.
Pointer 4. Vocational skills development:
Recognizing the value of vocational education and providing opportunities for skills development can help bridge the gap between education and employment. This can empower youth with practical skills and increase their chances of finding meaningful and sustainable employment.
Vocational Skills Development: Vocational education is crucial for young adults, but enrollment in Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) programs is low in low-income countries and certain regions.
Participation in technical and vocational education and training (TVET) for young adults needs to be higher in many parts of the world. Some progress can be observed in vocational educational enrolment between 2000 and 2020 in Central Asia, Central, and Eastern Europe, as well as in East Asia and the, Pacific with up to 15% of 15-24 years enrolled in TVET programs. In the lowest-income countries, however, and in regions such as sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, enrolment in TVET has remained low and stagnant at only around 1% of the age group. Yet, data from the International Labour Organization indicate that more than one in five youth (16-24) worldwide are not in education, training, or employment, two-thirds of whom are young women. These figures reflect our collective failure to ensure the universal right to education for all children, youth, and adults despite repeated global commitments since at least 1990. This is particularly true for girls and women, children, and youth with disabilities, those from poorer households, rural communities, indigenous peoples, minority groups, and those who suffer the consequences of violent conflict and political instability.
Pointer 5. Addressing social and political factors:
Education policies and strategies need to address the social, economic, cultural, and political factors that contribute to educational exclusion. This includes addressing issues of conflict, discrimination, and displacement that can limit access to education for marginalized communities.
Exclusion and Marginalization: Marginalized communities, including indigenous, minority, and rural populations, face exclusion due to social, economic, cultural, and political factors.
Marginalized communities continue to be excluded by a combination of social, economic, cultural, and political factors. If education is to help transform the future, it must first become more inclusive by addressing. Past injustices. Factors that shape these inequalities and exclusions must be identified if policies and strategies are to support marginalised students, especially those who experience compounded disadvantages. Conflict also accounts for half of the world’s chronically out-of-school population. Violent conflict makes operating or attending educational institutions unsafe and can displace entire populations. Students may be targeted and can be victims of kidnapping, rape, and armed recruitment. Indigenous and ethnic minority children and youth face several barriers that limit their access to quality education at all levels. Beyond economic, linguistic, and geographical borders factors such as racism, discrimination, and lack of cultural relevance factor into high attrition rates among indigenous children and youth. In general, formal education fails to recognise indigenous knowledge and learning systems and does not respond to the realities and aspirations of indigenous peoples both in rural and urban settings.
Conflict’s Impact on Education: Violent conflict disrupts education, making schools unsafe and displacing populations. Indigenous and ethnic minority children often face additional barriers due to discrimination and lack of cultural relevance in education.
Historically, education has also been used to violate the cultural and religious rights of children, for example, as a vehicle for the assimilation of indigenous peoples and ethnic minorities into mainstream societies or as a vehicle of religious indoctrination or obliteration of the religious or cultural identity of minority children in violation of their fundamental rights. The legacies of education weaponization against indigenous children and families continue to be experienced through systemic discrimination and neglect. Children from remote indigenous and minority communities, for example, are often forced to leave their communities to continue their education, living at hostels or boarding educational institutions that deprive them of their families and community and cultural support.
Broadening Education Goals: Education should not only focus on preparing students for work but also on nurturing diverse forms of knowledge and expression across cultures.
Economic globalization increasingly influences what and how students learn. It has reshaped expectations about what children and youth need to know to secure employment in the twenty-first century. Preparation for work is an important educational goal. However, there are pitfalls in defining goals of education too narrowly, particularly in ways that do not align with the realities of students’ and families’ lives and opportunities. A broader approach to ways of knowing recognizes a wider diversity in how knowledge can be applied, generated, and diffused across diverse contexts, cultures, and circumstances.
Pointer 6. Inclusive education policies:
Implementation of inclusive education policies and practices can help ensure that students with disabilities have equal access to education. This includes providing appropriate accommodations and support services to meet the diverse needs of all learners.
Identity and Inclusion: Recognizing students’ identities, languages, and cultures is crucial for student retention, mental health, self-esteem, and community well-being.
Equity in education must embrace humanity’s many forms of knowledge and expression. These draw not only on basic skills unrecognizing numeracy but on the rich heritage of knowledge across cultures that recognizes the global, local, regarding cultural, scientific, and spiritual. This is particularly true when it comes to the indigenous, minority language, and ethnically diverse students who may be counted among those out of school. Large-scale learning assessments often fail to account for mother-tongue competencies, which can further marginalize and push minority and indigenous students to leave school early. The Programme for International Reading Literacy Survey (PIRLS) results, for instance, showed that Grade 4 students who did not speak the language of the test at home were less likely than other students to reach the lowest level of proficiency in reading.
We must embrace a world with many lived realities rather than impose a singular vision of social and economic development. Guaranteeing the full eyehole of individual and collective rights requires truly valuing diverse human potential. Suppose human rights are to guide the new social contract for education. Students’ sense of identity – cultural, spiritual, social, and linguistic – must be recognized and affirmed, particularly among indigenous, religious, cultural, and gender minorities and systemically marginalized populations. Appropriate identity recognition in curriculum, pedagogy, and institutional approaches can directly impact student retention, mental health, self-esteem, and community well-being. Different means and measures are required to reach those for whom other solutions have been inadequate. But these efforts become yet more challenging in the face of natural and present social and educational disruptions resulting from climate change, global pandemics, and insecurity.
Pointer 7. Strengthening the role of education in promoting human rights:
Education should be seen as a means to empower individuals and promote human rights. This includes fostering critical thinking, empathy, and social and emotional skills that contribute to a more peaceful and equitable society.
New Social Contract for Education: Education is a shared social commitment, a human right, and a responsibility of states and citizens. It should promote autonomy, ethical thinking, collaboration, agency, responsibility, empathy, critical thinking, and social-emotional skills.
A new social contract for education must reinforce education as a public endeavour, shared social commitment, one of the most essential human rights, and one of the most critical responsibilities of states and citizens. In turn, one of the key roles of education is to educate citizens who advance human rights. This entails building the capabilities that make students autonomous and ethical thinkers and doers. It means equipping them to collaborate with others and developing their agency, responsibility, empathy, acritical and creative thinking, and a full range of social and emotional skills.
Overall, achieving universal education requires a multi-faceted approach that addresses the complex underlying factors that contribute to educational disparities. By addressing poverty, gender inequality, disability rights, and other intersecting factors, we can create a more inclusive and equitable education system for all.
Education for Peace and Cooperation: Education can contribute to global peace and cooperation, emphasizing care, cooperation, and the common good.
Education can be considered one of the central elements for helping humanity achieve peace with one another and with the Earth.
To align the education of the ambitious visionary is necessary to establish new ways of organizing learning. elements for helping humanity achieve peace with one another and strengthening education as a common good and collective endeavour that augments our human capacity to care and cooperate.
“Education for All – For the Cause of Education”, which is driven by the doctrine of
Education-Of the People; Education-By the People; Education-For the People.
New Social Contract: ………………………. To be continued………………………