Access To Education
Why is Access to Education Important?
There are plenty of reasons why education is important. Generally speaking, they all tie closely to a person’s goals in life and to their future well-being. Below are some of the other most common reasons education is so important:
- Education helps a person hone their communication skills by learning how to read, write, speak and listen.
- Education develops critical thinking. This is vital in teaching a person how to use logic when making decisions and interacting with people (e.g., boosting creativity, enhancing time management).
- Education helps an individual meet basic job qualifications and makes them more likely to secure better jobs.
- Education promotes gender equality and helps empower girls and women. A World Bank report found that an extra year of schooling for girls reduces teen pregnancy rates by six per cent and gave women more control over how many children they have.
- Education reduces child mortality. According to UNESCO, a child born to a mother who can read is 50 per cent more likely to survive past the age of five.
Even though the literacy percentage has grown to over 75%, Many still have no access to proper academic systems in the country. The quality, funding and accessibility of public education is still poor and the little cost charged still a challenge to many families. Here are a number challenges to access of education in Uganda;
Infrastructure. In the rural areas the roads are almost impassable in the rainy season as they flood to almost knee lengths. Some schools are located across water bodies and the students and/or school staff are faced with bad weather on the waters. Some schools are also using very dilapidated structures with inadequate services like clean water and power. In the urban areas the learners are faced with traffic jam. They have to move as early as 0500hrs for 0800hrs classes.
Financial constraints. Education is a very expensive venture in Uganda. From nursery to university the routine funds needed to keep a child in school are very high. This puts a very large gap between learners of the different social economic statuses. The price to pay in a top notch school that has advanced learning aids, systems and exceptional human resource is too high. Many Ugandans are also not able secure education insurance schemes for their children so orphans become marginalized. There are also a number of youth that have to pay their way through school and when they evaluate the total cost of moving forward to attain a degree, they realize the burden is heavier than if they transferred their resources and time to mini businesses. Learners also continuously miss classes when they are sent back home to bring more funds to their fees.
- Culture. Though this has improved overtime, the girl child especially has been affected by cultural beliefs even in the education sphere. Women had always been considered as home based people with their primary role as childbearing and caretaking. So men were groomed to be the bread basket of the family and when education was considered a prime means of reaching financial independence, males were definitely given priority. In other cultural instances, some believe they are chosen by the gods to do divinations and sorcery and that education contradicts their spiritual rituals. Teenagers are initiated into this way of life and their education ambitions are squashed there and then.
- Home chores. This may seem awkward to someone who has not lived in Uganda but to natives it is ordinary. Before children are permitted to head to school they must accomplish some tasks at home like fetching water from the nearby source, doing dishes, cleaning the house interior and exterior and in some cases even cooking and digging. So by the time the learner reaches school, they are exhausted and pretty disinterested.
The Power of education
Even with the many challenges one would wonder what incites the growing education curve in Uganda. What could possibly drive a peasant to beat all odds and attain a university degree? One can only say it’s the Power of education. It has become such a force that has created an undeniable whirlwind in Uganda. Here are a few factors that have made education powerful in Uganda;
Financial independence. The view of people able to live a satisfactory or even luxurious life through high paying jobs or opportunities they couldn’t otherwise attain without education is the biggest motive of attaining high education levels. In the previous 3 decades it was an
obvious calculation that higher education equals great financial opportunities. The educated work force was so small and lacking that even minor duties called for the employment of foreign consultants. But this has since changed in the past decade, the workforce grew exponentially and it is now very competitive. Many graduates have opted to work odd jobs and open up small enterprises away from their line of profession as they wait for their career opportunities. This however has not slowed down the enrollment of students into different learning opportunities.
Social status. It is becoming prestigious to be educated in Uganda. And there are clubs or social groups you can not be a part of if you don’t have a certain level of education. It is ground for mockery to not have your children sent to school and in some other communities, an esteemed class of school. On a better note this has eased networking and financial connections in the elite workforce.
Business in the education sector. The competition in the education sector has given rise to improved services and innovations in schools and institutes