The effects are dire and chronic. For example, according to Education International (EI), an impoverished girl in a low-income country has almost no chance of going to school. It would take four generations (her great granddaughter) before the first female in her family could complete lower secondary school.
Access to a quality education—one that ensures teacher quality and promotes student achievement—is not limited to the U.S. It is a global concern and is why several international guests from the Gambia, Grenada, Australia, and Germany presented the Unite for Quality Education campaign at NEA’s 2014 Joint Conference on Concerns of Minorities and Women in Denver, Colo.
EI is the driving force behind the campaign and has partnered with several organizations, including the NEA. The campaign is a call to action to press inter-governmental agencies, governments, and public education authorities to make education a top priority. A key target is the United Nations (UN), which is currently deciding whether education will be a critical development goal.
The appeal is to put more children in school and provide them with quality teaching, modern tools and resources, and supportive and safe environments for teaching and learning.
Launched in October 2013, on the eve of World Teachers’ Day, the campaign highlights the critical role quality education plays in the development of the individual and society, raises awareness of the necessity of providing accessible entry points for children to learn and prosper, and pushes organizations with similar commitments to make education the bedrock of their 2015 development agendas.
Educators from around the globe already have taken action. Messages have been created to promote and defend the quality of the education services in their countries, from better salaries and working conditions for teachers to more planning time and better curricular support. Educators are encouraged to blog or create a video. For example, Ingrid Hassler of Australia says via a video message that a quality education includes more staff to help with numeracy and literacy, as well as additional resources for modern technology and up-to-date books. In Colombia, Jairo Arenas says a quality education for his students requires proper nutrition and transportation.
Messages like these are being collected by EI and will be delivered to the UN in October—on the anniversary of the campaign launch. The question is, will EI deliver thousands, tens of thousands, or millions of messages from educators?
Add your voice to the growing list of educators who have united in support of a quality education for all students by visiting www.unite4education.org. Follow the campaign on Twitter, too, via @unite4ed.