Education transforms lives and is at the heart of Faith Clinic Foundation’s mission to build peace, eradicate poverty and drive sustainable development. It is a human right for all throughout life.
Why do we need to transform education?
The current state of the world calls for a major transformation in education to repair past injustices and enhance our capacity to act together for a more sustainable and just future. We must ensure the right to lifelong learning by providing all learners – of all ages in all contexts – the knowledge and skills they need to realize their full potential and live with dignity. Education can no longer be limited to a single period of one’s lifetime.
What are the key areas that need to be transformed?
Inclusive, equitable, safe and healthy schools
Education is in crisis.
High rates of poverty, exclusion and gender inequality continue to hold millions back from learning. Moreover, COVID-19 further exposed the inequities in education access and quality, and violence, armed conflict, disasters and reversal of women’s rights have increased insecurity. Inclusive, transformative education must ensure that all learners have unhindered access to and participation in education, that they are safe and healthy, free from violence and discrimination, and are supported with comprehensive care services within school settings. Transforming education requires a significant increase in investment in quality education, a strong foundation in comprehensive early childhood development and education, and must be underpinned by strong political commitment, sound planning, and a robust evidence base.
Learning and skills for life, work and sustainable development.
There is a crisis in foundational learning, of literacy and numeracy skills among young learners. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, learning poverty has increased in a West Africa countries mainly in Nigeria, with an estimated 70% of 10-year-olds unable to understand a simple written text. Children with disabilities are 42% less likely to have foundational reading and numeracy skills compared to their peers. More than 771 million people still lack basic literacy skills, two-thirds of whom are women. Transforming education means empowering learners with knowledge, skills, values and attitudes to be resilient, adaptable and prepared for the uncertain future while contributing to human and planetary well-being and sustainable development. To do so, there must be emphasis on foundational learning for basic literacy and numeracy; education for sustainable development, which encompasses environmental and climate change education; and skills for employment and entrepreneurship.
Teachers, teaching and the teaching profession
Teachers are essential for achieving learning outcomes, and for achieving SDG 4 and the transformation of education. But teachers and education personnel are confronted by four major challenges: Teacher shortages; lack of professional development opportunities; low status and working conditions; and lack of capacity to develop teacher leadership, autonomy and innovation. Accelerating progress toward SDG 4 and transforming education require that there is an adequate number of teachers to meet learners’ needs, and all education personnel are trained, motivated, and supported. This can only be possible when education is adequately funded, and policies recognize and support the teaching profession, to improve their status and working conditions.
Digital learning and transformation
The COVID-19 crisis drove unprecedented innovations in remote learning through harnessing digital technologies. At the same time, the digital divide excluded many from learning, with nearly one-third of school-age children (463 million) without access to distance learning. These inequities in access meant some groups, such as young women and girls, were left out of learning opportunities. Digital transformation requires harnessing technology as part of larger systemic efforts to transform education, making it more inclusive, equitable, effective, relevant, and sustainable. Investments and action in digital learning should be guided by the three core principles: Center the most marginalized; Free, high-quality digital education content; and Pedagogical innovation and change.
Financing of education
While global education spending has grown overall, it has been thwarted by high population growth, the surmounting costs of managing education during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the diversion of aid to other emergencies, leaving a massive global education financial gap amounting to US$ 148 billion annually. In this context, the first step toward transformation is to urge funders to redirect resources back to education to close the funding gap.