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Why Education is Important for Children

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Education is a right, not a privilege: this statement is the building block for the progress of any nation. It is the responsibility of the state to provide education to all its children and adults.

According to Article 26 of the Universal human rights declaration, everyone has the right to education. Education should be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education must be compulsory.

From the Marxist point of view, the education system should foster equal opportunities for all. Althusser argues that education is an ideological state apparatus that passes on the ideologies of the capitalist ruling class.

Arthur J. Rolnick and Rob Grunewald, in their article for Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, “Early childhood development Economic development with a high public return,” wrote investment in human capital breeds economic success not only for those being educated but also for the overall economy.

Without education, a person cannot read, write, speak, think critically, make informed decisions, know right from wrong, effectively communicate, or understand how the world works.

George Orwell wrote If people cannot write well, they cannot think well, and if they cannot think well, others will do their thinking for them.

Education is a powerful tool for breaking the cycle of poverty; supporting child survival, growth, development, and well-being; and closing the gap in social inequality.

An additional year of education for any individual increases earnings by ten per cent.

According to a report by UNICEF, fifty-seven million primary school-age children currently do not have access to education.

Children gather social and financial literacy building blocks even before they reach primary school. Much of what they know about planning, budgeting, saving, spending, and using resources is based on their daily routine. Even before monetary concepts are learned, simple concepts such as making full use of available resources, such as “finishing one’s food” or ” buying only necessities, ” are some of the daily realities that young children are exposed to that already relate to financial education.

Preschool children are also developing time preferences when they understand that there are times when it is better to wait for something rather than to have it now. Children as young as three are exposed to the social values of giving and sharing, not just with gifts or tangible materials but also with interaction with others. Other life skills learned to include taking turns, making decisions and setting goals.

Early childhood education gives children the best start in life. Early childhood, between 0-5 years old, is an ideal time to absorb basic skills. It’s proven to help give children a solid basis for social, emotional, and cognitive skills for future learning and development. It is the most critical time for positive intervention. Children’s development during this stage is strongly affected by their environment, and that effect continues to exert a strong influence on the rest of their lives.

School is the first opportunity for a child to become socialized. Before it, the only people with whom the child may have any interpersonal contact were the parents and extended family members. This generates sociable behaviours such as empathy, fellowship, engagement, and encouragement that are essential in your adult life.

Gorey, Kevin M., in their study ‘Early childhood education: A meta-analytic affirmation of the short- and long-term benefits of educational opportunity” found that with early childhood education, 7–8 of every 10 preschool children did better than the average child in a control group when looking at standard measures of intelligence and academic achievement. Education in those early years sets children up for success.

Linda Bakken, in her article, ‘Early childhood education and long-term benefit,’ wrote that children with early childhood education used significantly more appropriate behaviour, were considerably better at social interactions and were notably more emotionally mature than their peers. Every child can do something phenomenal with their life.

Duncan and Magnuson evaluated several studies and concluded that “economic deprivation during preschool is harmful to children’s development”. Nearly two-thirds of 10-year-olds are unable to read and understand a simple text. Without urgent action, this global learning crisis will become a generational catastrophe.

The US spent over $700 billion on public education in 2017 alone. In 2017, the US spent $12,800 per student on public education. Portugal spent $8,700 per student in 2015, and the government recently started paying for books. France spent $10,000 per student in 2015, and many parents enrolled their kids before three.

Germany has one of Europe’s best education systems. Germany revamped its education system after 2001, and by 2015, it had spent $11,000 per student,

Finland hardly has any private schools or standardized tests. The country spent $10,100 per student in 2015. Finland is often regarded as one of the top education systems. Much of what makes Finland’s education system stand out from other countries is the quality of its teachers. In Finland, all teachers are required to complete a rigorous five-year master’s program.

One other educational system worth mentioning is the Chinese educational system which presently is reputed among the best in the world. China spent 11.23 per cent of its GDP on education in 2019, and education data reported 227.000 RMB billion in Oct 2022.

99.4 per cent of youngsters aged 15 and 24 are literate in China.

In recent international tests, Shanghai was ranked number one in the world in all three categories: science, reading, and math, which is brilliant. In China, school is mandatory for 9 years. Kids usually begin preschool at the age of 3. Chinese students are not allowed to use calculators in school. Teachers willing to work in China need to be very qualified. Teachers are recruited from the top 30 per cent of the graduate school cohort. The Chinese curriculum is very intense and rigorous.

Pakistan has the second highest number of out-of-school children, nearly 22.8 million though the constitution of Pakistan article 25A obligates the state to provide free and compulsory education to all children 6 to 16.

Pakistan spends 1.77 per cent of its GDP on education which is the lowest in the region. At the national level, Pakistan spent Rs 20,145 in 2017-18 per student, which is nearly equivalent to 1000 dollars per student or may be less than that.

One of the most significant issues facing education is the deterioration of school facilities across the country. Over 90% of public education funding comes from state and local governments, but now they are providing less money.

The state should provide equal opportunities to all children for education. It should not be elitist. It should not be a business. It is the country’s investment in its people to collectively uplift them and safeguard their future.

There should be an increase in the education budget to 4 per cent of the GDP, investment in teacher training, and updating of the curriculum on scientific bases.

No children aged 5 to 16 should be out of school.

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