Editorial comment – All for Education

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Students going home after school. Picture: FILE

There was joy at the start of the school term this year when the Government announced financial assistance for families. Families applied to get assistance to send their children to school. It was savoured to the brim.

We place great value on education. And that’s the way it should be. The placing of value that is. Today, we have contrasting tales on Page 5.

At one end of the spectrum, a decade and a half of taking his grandchildren to school on horseback came to an end last week for Iliasere Natabadamu when Government commissioned the community access road at Koroiveremo Settlement in Nalaba, Ra.

However, on the other end, about 20 students in Nawaicoba, Nadi, were forced to miss classes on Thursday after the Rural Service Licence (RSL) operator halted services due to poor road conditions.

Education sits at the centre of both scenarios. One case needs to be addressed urgently. We need our children to be educated. We need them to go to school to be empowered, and learn to appreciate the importance of getting an education.

For that to be effective though will require us to enable the process to get that education. That means everything from providing school uniforms, school bags and stationery, and transportation to and from school. It means the school system too.

And by that we mean the curriculum, empowered teachers, and resources to cater for what is needed by our children in class. Then there is the expectation of a set base on the homefront, where we make an effort to create an enabling environment for children to embrace education.

The United Nations sees education as the basic building block of every society. It is the single best investment countries can make to build prosperous, healthy and equitable societies. It points to Article 26 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states: “Everyone has the right to education. “Today however, 57 million children remain out of school,” it notes.

Education, it says, is not only a right, but a passport to human development that opens doors and expands opportunities and freedoms. Those who leave school at an early age, it warns, are vulnerable to unemployment, poverty, early marriage, and pregnancy.

“Developing alternative learning opportunities that take into account these reasons for high drop-out rates are necessary to provide young people appropriate opportunities to consolidate their basic knowledge and competencies, and equip them with the relevant skills needed to obtain employment, become business owners and entrepreneurs or engage in other productive work,” it says.

We urge the powers that be to engage with those impacted by challenges that affect the education process. We also will look up to all stakeholders to be part of the process to bring about solutions.

The goal should be to educate our children.

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