Monday, 22 December 2014

The Price of an Education: Should We Take It for Granted?

by David Danso-Amoako

We may take our education for granted, but in other countries you could be killed for seeking an education. That’s how powerful it is. 

In history, by not educating others, the rich man would have gained more money because others could not reason against him or her. This is mainly shown in religion when the clergy would tell poor people that, in order to have your sins forgiven, you have to pay your way into heaven by using pardons which you paid for. The money paid for a pardon would be used as profits mainly for the rich clergy bishops and abbots. The Bible was written in Latin, so the uneducated poor could not understand it and were easily duped by the rich people.  

A current example of paying the ultimate price for education was seen last week in Pakistan, where 132 innocent children were massacred because they chose to go to school and receive an education. The reason the Taliban gave for this massacre was, in one word, 'vengeance'. They justified their actions by saying this was to avenge the death of the children by the Pakistani army. World leaders have truly condemned the act of violence committed in this military school, the attendants mainly children of the soldiers. 

However, this threat isn’t isolated. In Nigeria, over 200 girls in school in Chibok were kidnapped in April by Boko Haram, which means in English “Western education is forbidden”. This caused the rise of the hashtag Bring Back Our Girls, a campaign trying to bring them back alive. Some in the school already knew this was going to happen, so took their children away from school. But those children who didn’t know this were kidnapped and forced to change to Islamic beliefs. While a few of the girls have managed to escape, the fate of the majority remains unknown.  

But if you think we have been defeated in our cause for education, look no further than Malala Yousafzai, who survived, with help from the UK, a bullet to the head from the Taliban and is now the driving inspiration for others to go to school in dangerous areas like Afghanistan and Pakistan. This year, she has been awarded a Nobel peace prize for her efforts. On her eleventh birthday she gave an inspirational speech in which she said “the pen and the book are our best weapons.”
If we give the poorest countries education for their children, we will not only be giving them a chance in life, but we will help the country because we are giving them in essence home-grown talent. This will therefore help them boost their economy and the employment rate.

So what is being done about the education problem? 

Well, UNICEF  has built schools in poor villages for pupils to go to school and have an education so they will fare just as well as we do in the future. Richer schools are sponsors of these poorer schools so that way they can pay the teachers who work in the schools. We can also help build schools that will be in use after a short period of time. But even after these changes in poorer countries there will always be the problem of the safety of schooling in war torn areas.

Why am I saying this? It is because as we go into the festive season, school may seem so distant from our minds. So, when this year is finished, we know that we have done something very remarkable compared to others. We have gone to school and we have received an education. We must now help others who are in great need of going to school. By giving the chance for a child to go to school you are not just educating that child, you are educating their children and if we all do it we will educate a generation.

May you all have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! 

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