Education plays a vital role in transforming a developing country into a fully developed nation. By educating the youth, countries are able to ensure a stronger future and promote innovation in their own communities, thus making them more globally competitive and increasing the overall quality of life.

The Basic Education Coalition is “an independent, non-profit organization working to ensure children around the world have access to quality basic education.” Working together with 17 other organizations, the Basic Education Coalition will be a key player in the development of the developing world and the bettering of children’s lives throughout the world.

In 2000, several global leaders founded the Basic Education Coalition with the established goal of Education for All (EFA), with the goal that “all children receive an education that enriches their lives, expands their opportunities, and empowers them to participate in society.” In order to set more distinct goals for themselves, the EFA developed six goals which were then endorsed by several member countries and their leaders.

One EFA goal is to expand and improve the comprehensive early childhood care and education, especially for disadvantaged children. The key aspect in this is the provision of both care and education. Often, children in extreme poverty are made to worry about where their next meal will come from, if their parents will come home and if they will be able to survive.

By providing care to these children, these troubles somewhat disappear and they are able to focus on their education, and on being children. Childhood is where a lot of a people’s personality is formed and if the global community raises kind and education-loving children, we are only creating a stronger future for ourselves.

Another key goal of EFA is “eliminating gender disparities in primary and secondary education by 2005, and achieving gender parity in education by 2015, with a focus on ensuring girls’ full and equal access to and achievement in basic education of good quality.”

In many developing countries with relatively accessible education platforms, there is a huge gender disparity with boys being much more educated than girls. In the future, this will only lead to increases in population growth, domestic violence and lower self-esteem and self-respect for many women in the developing world.

When young girls are provided with a strong education they are able to gain the confidence to run their own businesses, innovate, support their families and make decisions that benefit their futures.

This has become an increasing focus in the global community and many NGOs have been created solely to help women and girls in developing countries to gain the confidence and education to support themselves.

Some of the other EFA goals include a 50 percent improvement in levels of adult literacy levels by 2015, compulsory education for children, especially girls, and ensuring equitable access to appropriate learning and life skills programs.

By teaming up with global leaders and several different countries throughout the world, the Basic Education Coalition has created a buddy system in which every nation must make sure that their counterparts are doing well. By working together, the youth of the world will be able to grow up in a totally different, and much better, world than our own.

Sumita Tellakat

Sources: Basic Ed, Interaction
Photo: Huffington Post

Last week, Representative Dave Reichert (R-WA) and Representative Mike Quigley (D-IL) officially launched the newest caucus in Congress: the bipartisan International Basic Education Caucus.

These two members came together across party lines to encourage a commitment from both Republicans and Democrats in support of basic-quality education around the world. The caucus, officially launched on June 24, 2015, is encouraged and supported by several partner organizations, including the Global Campaign for Education (GCE-US), RESULTS and the Basic Education Coalition. It aims to promote understanding in the 114th Congress of the many global issues associated with inadequate primary education in developing countries — including increasing economic and security issues in the United States. The caucus is intended to encourage its members — and Congress at large — to think of universal education not just as an altruistic good, but as a critical strategic advantage for the United States.

With over 121 million children and adolescents out of school around the world, U.S. funding for international education in developing nations has become increasingly important. Education is the key to breaking the cycle of poverty in these nations. The caucus will not only promote understanding of the types of challenges that arise from a lack of quality, universal education, but will also encourage bipartisan legislation to address these challenges.

One such piece of legislation is the Education For All Act, which has been introduced in previous sessions of Congress, most recently in 2013 by Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-NY) and Congressman Reichert (R-WA). The bill, which had 76 cosponsors in the House and the Senate, was intended to amend the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, to include further assistance for developing nations in order to promote universal primary education around the world. It simultaneously strengthened the U.S.’s commitment to global education and supported the means by which developing societies could become sustainable and independent. Though the bill did not pass when introduced, it is possible that the new caucus will bring about increased support for similar pieces of legislation in coming sessions.

While there are numerous congressional caucuses that do very little, there appears to be a reason to be optimistic when considering the future of the International Basic Education Caucus. The caucus will take part in numerous activities, including sponsored briefs on basic education issues, congressional receptions in coordination with partner organizations and letters to the presidential administration and to various world leaders. Such activities are intended to help increase support in Congress for basic international education programs, improve understanding of the seriousness of global education issues among world leaders and establish the means with which to respond to attacks on education, such as recent attacks on schools by Boko Haram in Nigeria or by the Taliban in Pakistan.

Representative Reichert commented upon the caucus’s launch, saying, “If we are going to spread freedom, promote economic growth, enhance stability and security and alleviate poverty around the world, the best way to do that is by first ensuring every young child […] has access to basic education.”

An innovative and historic effort, the bipartisan International Basic Education Caucus has the potential to make a real impact in developing nations and the world at large.

Melissa Pavlik

Sources: Basic Education Coalition, Congressman Mike Quigley, National Education Association
Photo: Flickr