Post-MDG 2: Quality and Relevant Education For All
The current MDG on education MDG 2 (achieve universal primary education) has largely focused on pushing up the numbers of pupils being admitted into and completing school at primary level. Under this goal much investment in this goal has been put in paying for pupils tuition and school fees and with little being invested in the development of school infrastructure and buying of textbooks and other material which is necessary for learning . This has adversely affected the quality of education especially in developing countries.
This situation is evident buy the poor teacher to pupil ratios which may exceed 1:50 in the cases of some African schools. The same goes for textbooks which are also in short supply, This situation is a worsened by the fact that the teachers themselves are in short supply as a result of factors such as shortage of training facilities for teachers and brain drain among others. All these have compromised the quality of education.
To improve the quality of education, the post MDG policy on education should not only focus on pupil enrolment but on development of infrastructure and training of more educators. Funding should also made available for teachers salaries especially in developing countries to curb brain drain.
The relevance of the education is also another factor which has not been catered for by the MDG 2, in this modern day and age one can acknowledge that basic education goes beyond reading and writing only but also involves computer literacy . This calls for investment in computers for schools and also training of educators on ICT based teaching methods such as cyber learning (use of software tutorials, use of internet for research, e-learning etc)
Every child should be computer literate
Another issue which needs to be addressed is on the sustainability of MDG 2. The emphasis of primary education alone and not secondary education should be reviewed. In most countries even though one has completed primary education this qualification is not even recognized in the job market. This has created a situation whereby the investment in that person enabling them to be literate still results in them being unemployed and on the street with little or no contribution to the GDP - therefore perpetuating the poverty cycle. It is more sustainable to invest in secondary education in which the pupil after completion will be guaranteed a job and contribution to GDP.
On the other hand it would be unethical to neglect primary education altogether, so a balance has to be struck between the two in terms of investment. Policy after 2015 should be drafted to create a curriculum were pupils will be educated on vital aspects such as gender issues, HIV and AIDS, environmental issues, human rights and good governance. This will improve the relevance of the education.
I strongly hope that the post-MDG policy on education will take be pivotal in improving the quality and relevance of education for both levels, primary and secondary in order to eradicate extreme hunger and poverty.
Article By Moses Machipisa, Mathematics student teacher, Zimbabwe