Education is a human right and a public responsibility, yet children living in poverty continue to face barriers in accessing it. As the world marks International Education Day on 24 January, with this year’s theme ‘Learning for people, planet, prosperity and peace’ millions of children, especially those living in poverty, fail to access education at a global scale.
Without inclusive and equitable education, countries will not succeed in curbing widespread unemployment, achieving gender equity, and breaking the cycle of poverty, leaving millions of children behind. Efforts to reach Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4 will be hindered at national, regional and global level.
United Nations Education and Scientific Culture Organisation (UNESCO:2020) reveals that 258 million children and youth do not attend school, 617 million children and adolescents cannot read and do basic math, with less than 40% of girls in sub-Saharan Africa completing lower secondary school.
Lack of skilled teachers hinders progress towards achieving universal primary or secondary education, with many untrained teachers and children not receiving proper education. Globally, the United Nations (UN) estimates that 69 million new teachers are required to achieve universal primary and secondary education by 2030.
For years, Humana People to People (HPP) has been actively working to promote access to education for marginalized children in developing countries. Its teacher training concept was first implemented in Maputo, Mozambique in 1993. This has grown into 53 colleges currently operating in Angola, Congo DR, Guinea Bissau, India, Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia. Through these colleges, 42,000 primary school teachers have been trained. The majority of teachers work in remote rural communities, positively impacting on the learning outcomes of millions of children.
Close to 5,000 primary school teachers graduate yearly from HPP teacher training colleges. They then choose to further develop their profession by joining a network of graduated teachers committed to improving conditions of primary school education by strengthening the quality of teaching pedagogy through teaching materials, sharing experiences and finding solutions to emerging challenges..
Watch a DAPP Malawi teacher training film here.
Apart from building academic competencies, teachers tackle a variety of topics such as gender equity, menstruation, and disability through campaigns promoting girl-child education. Breaking cultural and structural barriers that fuel increasing numbers of out-of-school-children has changed family and community mindsets into treating girls and boys as equals.
Trained female teachers are increasingly influencing girl-child empowerment, with girls and boys being seen as equals. Girls and young women are empowered to engage in life-sustaining activities, including entrepreneurship initiatives, sexual reproductive health education and awareness. This inclusive, empowered approach has resulted in transformative results.
Developing countries cannot rely solely on their own financing for education, and require foreign aid. Only 20% of aid for education goes to low-income countries, according to the Global Partnership for Education (GPE). However, it costs an average of $1.25 a day per child in developing countries to provide 13 years of education.