Education is a human right for us all despite who we are or where we come from.
Education grants us possibilities to live our lives in a more sustainable and healthy way. Education makes us feel empowered. Through education, we are able to reduce inequalities among people. Education gives us knowledge, power and a way out of poverty. Through education, we are able to teach children about empathy and tolerance (United Nations 2017).
But education is much more than just gaining new knowledge; it also gives us the opportunity to learn about ourselves. Education makes our lives richer and fills them with experiences, epiphanies and inspiration.
The current situation
The situation around the world has improved immensely over the years. We still have a lot of work ahead of us, because, in 2018, over 258 million children of all ages were lacking access to primary and secondary school, of which over 59 million were children lacking access to primary education (UNESCO 2020).
However, it is not enough that every child is purely given the access to school, because education that lacks quality provides us with the same results as no education. For example, children in sub-Saharan Africa are not able to read after several years of schooling (UNESCO 2017). The primary goal is to secure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote learning opportunities that last for a lifetime (United Nations n.d.).
“Worldwide, there are more non-learners in school than out of school.” (Unicef n.d.).
Goals for 2021
- Access to early learning, primary or secondary education provided for 60 million out-of-school children – up from 10 million
- Individual education or early learning materials provided for 93 million girls and boys – up from 15.7 million
- Improved learning outcomes for girls and boys in 79% of countries – up from 62% for girls and 60% for boys (Unicef n.d.).
Education in Finland
The Finnish educational system is one of the best in the world. Education is inclusive and comprehensive. There are three essential reasons why our system excels. It all starts from the foundation of our system which is our highly trained teachers. Our teachers are given professional freedom and trust as well as possibilities to develop and influence on their teaching (Education Finland 2018).
The innovative teaching and the use of research-based pedagogy has resulted in excellent learning outcomes. The use of the combination of these two is beneficial in creating an excellent curricula and outstanding learning conditions (Education Finland 2018).
The third reason is our solid ICT sector that provides clever and fun ways to use digital solutions as part of our daily learning (Education Finland 2018).
What about the future?
We all have the right to learn, but we cannot change things on our own. Promoting and improving the quality of education must happen in cooperation. Governments, schools, NGOs and other actors like Unicef and Save the Children, teachers, parents and students must all work together to achieve the common goals.
However, before we have a chance to achieve equal educational possibilities, Unicef (2002) states that gender discrimination must stop. Everyone must have equal chances of quality education.
Education Finland. 2018. Why Finland. Website operated by Finnish National Agency for Education. Accessed 3 June 2020. https://www.educationfinland.fi/why-finland
UNESCO Institute for Statistics. 2017. More Than One-Half of Children and Adolescents Are Not Learning Worldwide. Fact Sheet No. 46. September 2017. Accessed 3 June 2020. http://uis.unesco.org/sites/default/files/documents/fs46-more-than-half-children-not-learning-en-2017.pdf
UNESCO Institute for Statistics. 2020. Education. Accessed 3 June 2020. http://data.uis.unesco.org/
Unicef. 2002. Quality Education for all. From a girl’s point of view. Accessed 28 May 2020. https://www.unicef.org/publications/files/pub_qualityeducation_en.pdf
Unicef. No date. Education. Accessed 3 June 2020. https://www.unicef.org/education
United Nations. 2017. Quality education: Why it matters. Accessed 3 June 2020. https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/4.pdf
United Nations. No date. Sustainable development goal 4. Accessed 3 June 2020. https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdg4