Facts About Education in Tonga

The Kingdom of Tonga is located in the Pacific Ocean and has a population of approximately 109,008. Despite its small size, the country has made continuous improvements to its educational system. Keep reading to learn the top eight facts about education in Tonga.

8 Facts About Education in Tonga

  1. A Colonial Past – The school system that currently exists in Tonga was first established by Wesleyan missionaries in 1826. The primary language of the country is Tongan, a dialect of Polynesian, but English is also spoken as a secondary language and is taught as such in schools.
  2. Compulsory Education – Since 1876, the first eight years of education in Tonga has been compulsory for all Tongan children beginning at age 6. Tonga has divided its education system to include six years at the primary level, three at the junior and three at the senior secondary level.
  3. Free Education – Primary and secondary schools for students from ages 6 to 14 attend government-sponsored schools for free.  In 2004, 3.91 percent of Tonga’s GDP was allotted to spending on education in Tonga. This is a decrease from 5.59 percent in 1998.
  4. High Literacy Rates – The efforts of the Tongan government to create a strong base of literacy within the country has been widely successful. In 1996, the adult literacy rate of Tonga was 98.5 percent. That number has now risen to 99.0 percent in 2018, making Tonga one of the leaders of adult literacy of the nations in the Pacific.
  5. Girls’ Education – In 2015, girls were enrolled at higher rates than boys at all three levels of education. Enrollment in primary school was at 94 percent for girls and 92 percent for boys in 2015. This number dropped roughly 10 percentage points for each gender going into lower secondary schools.
  6. Ministry of Education – The Ministry of Education works to create and maintain a system of strong education in Tonga. The Ministry manages all of the government schools in the country at all education levels and ensures that the private schools within the country adhere to the national standards of education. There are two main exams that the Ministry of Education administers to all students. The first is the Tonga School Certificate. This exam is taken by students at the end of their fifth year while they are in secondary school. The second major state exam is the Pacific Senior Secondary Certificate, which is taken by students at the end of secondary schooling. Both exams serve as a measure of the thoroughness of a student’s education. The exams are administered in English, though they do emphasize knowledge of Tongan culture.
  7. Brain Drain – Following the conclusion of their secondary school education, many young scholars from Tonga seek their tertiary education abroad at universities in Australia or New Zealand. Upon completion of their degrees at university, most Tongan scholars remain in Australia or New Zealand to live and work and do not return to their homes in Tonga. In 2018, approximately 25 percent of those who furthered their education within Tonga now exist below the poverty line.
  8. Plan for Educational Improvement – Beginning in 2003, Tonga began a project for educational reform that focuses on providing access to a strong education for all Tongans. The Tonga Education Support Program (TESP) has two tiers. TESP I aims to improve equitable access to education up to Year 8, to improve education past primary school and to improve the administration of Tongan schools. TESP II aims to maximize the amount of learning that students can find within Tongan schools, to increase the teaching abilities of teachers and to improve educational facilities. The Tongan government has received financial contributions from Australia and New Zealand to do so.

Anne Pietrow
Photo: Flickr

Girls' Education in ZambiaDue to extreme poverty, girls’ education in Zambia suffers. Many Zambian girls and young women miss out on the opportunity to receive an education. With 64 percent of the population living on less than $1.25 a day, Zambia is one of the poorest countries in the world. Unfortunately, this leads to serious repercussions for the Zambian youth.


In fact, the Southern African Consortium for Measuring Education Quality found Zambia comes in at No. 13 out of 15 countries for literacy and numeracy. In rural areas, 27 percent of females receive no education. This is primarily due to poverty, pregnancy and early marriages.

The United Nations’ Girls’ Education Initiative found female literacy measures at 67 percent while male literacy is measured as 82 percent. This disparity holds females back in terms of economic advancement and independence from their male counterparts. The legal age for marriage in Zambia is 16. Subsequently, 46.3 percent of girls get married before the age of 18. Early marriages contribute to female dropout rates. Therefore, initiatives encouraging women to delay marriage or continue education while married can decrease dropout rates.

Calling for Change

In October 2018, Permanent Representative of Zambia Christine Kalamwina recognized girls’ education in Zambia is imperative in ensuring gender equality and economic advancement of females. In response to this, the Zambian government enacted a law mandating an equal male-female enrollment rate. This law aims to close the education gender gap. Additionally, many girls drop out of school due to menstruation. As a result, the Zambian government began distributing free sanitary towels in rural areas.

Fortunately, there are many organizations working to improve the girls’ education in Zambia. The Campaign for Female Education works with the local government to promote gender equality and child protection. They have already provided secondary scholarships for 38,168 girls in Zambia alone.

The World Bank’s International Development Association also does important work to improve girls’ education in Zambia. The Girl’s Education and Women’s Empowerment and Livelihood Project (GEWEL) helps the Zambian government decrease the rate of child marriage. To do so, they increase access to secondary school for young girls from poor families. One method include the Keep Girls in School bursary. Financial issues often force girls to drop out of school. Therefore, the KGS bursary provides the funds necessary to continue girls’ education. Similarly, the Support Women’s Livelihood program supports working-age women. It offers training, startup funds, additional savings and mentorship programs. Ultimately, GEWEL helped 20,000 in 2017 and projected they would help over 50,000 women in 2018.

Jessica Haidet
Photo: Flickr

Gender Equality in RwandaThis year marks the 25th anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide. In 1994, from April 7 to July 24, approximately 800,000 Rwandans were massacred and up to 500,000 women were raped. However, 24 years later, Rwanda ranks sixth in the world for gender equality, the top non-European country besides Nicaragua.

Women and Politics

Representation of women in politics significantly helped improve gender equality in Rwanda. Since 2003, women have had a constitutionally protected place in the Rwandan government. The Rwandan constitution mandates 30 percent of representatives be female. As a result, the number of women in parliament increased from 18 percent in the 1990s to 64 percent as of 2013. In terms of a male-female ratio in parliament, Rwanda tops international rankings. Furthermore, President Paul Kagame’s current cabinet is the second in Africa to contain an equal ratio of men to women.

While better representation does not end all gender inequality, it improves women’s status in society. With female representation, society sees women as leaders. And more importantly, female representation helps create better legislation for women and encourages gender equality in Rwanda.

Women and Development

Rwanda is a largely rural country and depends on agriculture for economic growth. Rwanda’s Gross Domestic Product per capita ranks 206th in the world. However, Rwanda possesses a remarkable current GDP per capita given its recent history. Rwanda lost much of its traditional workforce to genocide, also resulting in 500,000 orphaned children. Since then, women have pioneered Rwanda’s development. The country possesses the highest rate of female labor force participation in the workforce compared to the rest of the African continent. Additionally, over 70 percent of women are engaged in a sector of the primary economy, and they make up 79 percent of the agricultural workforce, though not all are paid.

Consequently, women in development programs bolster gender equality in Rwanda, as they spearhead the country’s fast growth. Rwanda is currently hosting a wide range of development projects. These projects aim to both modernize the business of agriculture and ensure women are prepared for this modernization. Launched in 2015, the Capacity Development for Agricultural Innovation Systems program is being piloted in eight countries worldwide. This program aims to equip communities with the technological and soft skills necessary to navigate modern markets.

Mukamusoni Alexia, a cassava farmer, is one of 106 members in the newly formed ‘Ubumwe Mbuye’ Cooperative. According to Alexia, the cooperative facilitates a dialogue addressing local challenges and enabled her processing plant to acquire loans. Now, Alexia’s cooperative generates over 800 tons of cassava a month and provides 30 tons per week to a processing plant.

Many of these farming cooperatives are female-led or reserved for women, a long-term project to redefine gender roles and allow women to bring home family income.

Women and Education

Educating women is the key to gender equality. However, Rwanda’s education system struggles from a lack of resources. As a result, fewer students continue to secondary education. Moreover, Rwanda ranks low on the United Nations’ Development Programme’s Life Course Gender-Gap index.

Several of the most successful education projects focus on reducing gender-based violence. In doing so, empowered women can succeed at home and will, therefore, stay in school. A troubling statistic reflects 34.4 percent of Rwandan women experience violence from an intimate partner.

CARE International supports a program called Safe School For Girls. This program mentors girls as they transition from lower to upper secondary school. Plus, it provides sexual health education to more than 47,000 students across the Southern Province of Rwanda. Furthermore, this program hopes to engage boys in the dialogue through “round table talks.” These talks discuss the barriers women and girls face and how boys can help end gender-based violence. So far, Safe School For Girls has engaged over 19,000 boys in these talks. Improving the climate around education and identifying where women face barriers is critical for gender equality in Rwanda.

A Model for Gender Equality

While women still face a variety of obstacles, Rwanda acts as a model for gender equality worldwide. Rwanda’s Human Development Rank is still low. Subsequently, many argue gender equality in parliament is a smokescreen for President Kagame’s authoritarian regime, now entering its 19th successive year.

However, in spite of these developmental barriers, Rwanda has demonstrated gender equality is a realistic and attainable goal. The country’s real GDP growth stands at 8.6 percent, the second highest globally, showing full integration of women in society is critical for economic development. Rwandan women helped the country’s remarkable rebirth after a devastating genocide, and they are the main drivers behind its emerging prosperity today.

Holly Barsham
Photo: Flickr

Nigerian female education
On April 2014, tragedy struck hundreds of families in Nigeria. The terrorist group Boko Haram kidnapped 276 girls from the Chibok Government Secondary School. This event represented more than an attack on the Nigerian people; it was an attack on girls’ right to education.

Education for girls is condemned by Islamic extremists and often results in near-fatal or deadly incidents. Nigerian female education is not an exception to sexist discrimination. However, one Nigerian girl, Amina Yusuf tells her story of breaking down barriers in a TakePart series.

Yusuf’s story begins with a scholarship from the Center for Girls Education. CGE is an organization comprised of the Population & Reproductive Health Initiative (PRHI) at Ahmadu Bello University and the School of Public Health at the University of California, Berkeley.

The organization helps adolescent girls in rural Nigeria achieve an education “through innovative programming, advocacy, research and strategic partnership.” To promote bravery in dangerous times, the Center for Girls Education “safe space club” remained open after the Boko Haram abductions.

The 2014 attacks only amplified Yusuf’s fervor for education for girls; she blames Boko Haram, poverty and early marriage for parents keeping their daughters out of school.

With the help of CGE, Yusuf completed her high school education and is now in college working toward an education certificate. To promote education for girls, Yusuf initially passed on knowledge she learned at CGE to her family members who couldn’t attend school themselves.

Now, Yusuf mentors several girls through CGE and still makes a point of sharing important information to girls in her neighborhood, including topics like reproductive health. In Nigeria, many girls marry at the age of 12 and start bearing children at age 15. Yusuf advocates for access to education and knowledge of reproductive health to decrease the number of adolescent pregnancies.

Inspired by Malala Yousafzai, Yusuf has a vision of Nigeria’s future as well as lofty aspirations for her own. She hopes that one day her nation will guarantee 12 years of free schooling for all children and that better-paid teachers will ensure a quality education.

In an interview with Girl Effect, Yusuf shared her dreams for her future. Grateful for the support she received from CGE, Yusuf said “I want to start an organisation or a foundation where I’ll be the one helping to give scholarships to other girls like me.”

Sabrina Yates

Photo: Flickr

Top 10 Reasons Why Female Education is Important
From Cairo to Beijing, offering quality and universal education to young girls promotes progress for society as a whole. Carla Koppell of the United States Agency for International Development, better known as USAID, even called female education a “silver bullet” for empowerment and progress. To better understand the far-reaching effects of a few books and a classroom, here are the top 10 reasons why female education is important.

The Unmatched Importance of Female Education

  1. Increased Literacy: Of the 163 million illiterate youth across the globe, nearly 63 percent are female. Offering all children education will prop up literacy rates, pushing forward development in struggling regions.
  2. Human Trafficking: Women are most vulnerable to trafficking when they are undereducated and poor, according to the United Nations Inter-Agency Project on Human Trafficking. Through providing young girls with opportunities and fundamental skills, this billion-dollar industry can be significantly undermined.
  3. Political Representation: Across the globe, women are underrepresented as voters and restricted from political involvement. The United Nations Women’s programmes on leadership and participation suggests that civic education, training and all around empowerment will ease this gap.
  4. Thriving Babies: According to the United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative, children of educated mothers are twice as likely to survive past the age of five. Foreign aid for schoolhouses and curriculum development could greatly benefit the East African country of Burundi, where nearly 16,000 children die per year.
  5. Safe Sex: A girl who completes primary school is three times less likely to contract HIV. With these statistics in mind, The World Bank calls education a “window of hope” in preventing the spread of AIDS among today’s children.
  6. Later Marriage: As suggested by the United Nations Population Fund, in underdeveloped countries, one in every three girls is married before reaching the age of 18. In a region where a girl receives seven or more years of education, the wedding date is delayed by four years.
  7. Smaller Families: Increased participation in school reduces fertility rates over time. In Mali, women with secondary education or higher have an average of three children. Counterparts with no education have an average of seven children.
  8. Income Potential: Education also empowers a woman’s wallet by boosting her earning capabilities. According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, also known as UNESCO, a single year of primary education has shown to increase a girl’s wages later in life by 20 percent.
  9. Thriving GDP: Gross domestic product also soars when both girls and boys are being offered educational opportunities. When 10 percent more women attend school, GDP increases by three percent on average.
  10. Poverty Reduction: When women are provided with equal rights and equal access to education, they go on to participate in business and economic activity. Increased earning power and income combat against current and future poverty through feeding, clothing and providing for entire families.

The sustainability and progress of all regions depend on the success of women across the globe. As President Obama said while addressing the United Nations General Assembly in 2012, “The future must not belong to those who bully women. It must be shaped by girls who go to school and those who stand for a world where our daughters can live their dreams just like our sons.”

– Lauren Stepp

Sources: PRB, U.N. Women, CFR, World Bank

Photo: Flickr

Education Empowers WomenEducation empowers women and girls, and investing in their education is one of the most effective ways to reduce global poverty. Still, females face many barriers to educational opportunities. According to the Global Partnership for Education, 63 million girls are not in school worldwide, and women represent almost two-thirds of the world’s illiterate.

A recent report by the World Bank found that girls who receive little to no amount of education are more likely to live in poverty, be married as children, suffer domestic abuse and lack control over their own health care decisions, which is detrimental to their families and communities.

Here are six of many ways education empowers women in poverty:

1. Education Helps Women Avoid Child Marriages

“Child marriage is an appalling violation of human rights and robs girls of their education, health and long-term prospects,” Babatunde Osotimehin, M.D., the Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund, said to UNICEF. “A girl who is married as a child is one whose potential will not be fulfilled.”

Providing girls with access to educational can be an effective way to reduce child marriage rates worldwide. According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the rate of child marriage within sub-Sahara, South and West Africa would fall by 64 percent if every girl within the region received a secondary education level.

2. Education Empowers Women to Family Plan

The amount of education a woman receives influences a women’s choice and ability to plan family sizes. Family planning allows women to give birth to the number of children they desire and determine the spacing of their pregnancies.

In sub-Saharan Africa, women with no education have an average of 6.7 births on average, compared to 3.9 for women within the region who have obtained a secondary education level, as reported by UNESCO.

3. Education of Mothers Decreases Child Mortality

A woman’s education is integral to the health of her family. The more education a girl gains throughout her childhood, the better chance her future child has for survival.

According to the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the probability of infant mortality decreases by five percent to 10 percent for each extra year of education a mother has.

Around four million child deaths have been prevented over the last four decades due to an increase in female education, according to a study in The Lancet journal funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

4. Education Increases the Likelihood of Women Surviving Pregnancy and Birth Complications

Education isn’t just integral to the health of a woman’s child; it is also important for the mother. Pregnancy and birth pose extreme health risks for women in poverty stricken areas, and education plays a significant role in helping mothers survive them. Women with higher levels of education are more likely to adopt simple and low cost hygienic practices throughout pregnancy, and react to health issues.

According to UNESCO, maternal mortality would fall by 66 percent if all women had completed primary education.

5. Education Gives Women Higher Income Earning Power

Each extra year of schooling a girl receives is incredibly valuable, raising her ability to enter the labor force. Every year of secondary school education a girl receives is directly correlated with an 18 percent increase in her future earning, according to a World Bank study.

6. Education Empowers Women to Stand Up to Domestic Violence

Gender-based violence is a global phenomenon. One-third of women who have been in a relationship have experienced physical or sexual violence, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Low education levels are associated with an increased risk of experiencing domestic violence.

Through education, women have the opportunity to gain knowledge to stop this phenomenon. In Sierra Leonne after a large expansion of school opportunities, women’s tolerance of domestic violence dropped from 36 percent to 26 percent according to UNESCO.

“I firmly believe that when you invest in a girl’s education she will support herself and her children and contribute to her community and her nation, charting a path towards a better world in which human rights are respected and there is dignity for all,” Prime Minister of Norway and co-chair of the MDG Advocacy Group, Erna Solberg, said in an interview with Daily Development. “Education empowers women. It increases their economic contribution, strengthens their political voice and boosts their influence across the board. That is why delivering education to all girls is so vital.”

Lauren Lewis

Sources: United Nations Development Program, UNESCO, White House, USAID, World Bank, The Lancet, Global Partnership for Education, UNICEF, World Health Organization, Daily Development
Photo: The Clinton Foundation


KIND fundIn the 2015 holiday season, Lawrence O’Donnell’s KIND Fund (Kids in Need of Desks), which supplies desks and scholarships to students in Malawi, reached over $10.5 million in donations. The organization’s goal is to build tables for rural schools in Malawi that lack school furniture.

In 2010, Lawrence O’ Donnell saw firsthand the struggles of schoolchildren lacking essential school supplies in Malawi. Every day in rural villages, children would attend school without basic school equipment, like desks and chairs.

Most students would sit in the dirt or on hard cement floors, using their knees as makeshift tables to write notes. The lack of a physical platform would lead to poor handwriting and damaged papers. Because the students only have a single pair of clothing, their families would spend every other day washing their shirts and pants, often causing children to miss class.

Wanting to help improve the bleak situation, O’Donnell contacted UNICEF and a local woodworking shop, paying them to make 30 student desks — enough for a full classroom. Realizing how easily he could improve student education, O’ Donnell created the KIND Fund after his visit.

Since 2010, the organization has built and placed more than 148,755 desks in 575 primary schools in Malawi, creating legitimate work spaces for more than half a million students who would otherwise be sitting on the dirty floor. On his show, O’Donnell thanked his viewers for their ongoing support for the KIND Fund. To him, $10 million dollars “was beyond my wildest dreams when I started [the fund].”

The KIND Fund has also benefited the Malawian communities outside the classroom by manufacturing the desks locally, creating jobs for residents since its inception.

In addition to building desks for schools, the KIND Fund also provides scholarships to young women to complete their secondary school education. Because of their impoverished situation, families choose to not send their daughters to school.

With the scholarships that the KIND Fund offers, the girls receive an education that diminishes their chances of being exploited, making them less likely to fall victim to human trafficking. Girls who finish secondary school also marry at an older age, and their babies are more likely to survive.

Knowing this, the KIND Fund promotes its scholarships and makes sure both young men and women have a brighter future and better education.

“This is proof that small acts of kindness can make a big difference in our world,” O’Donnell said.

John Gilmore

Sources: Look to the Stars, UNICEF USA
Photo: Flickr



Clint Borgen will be speaking at Yale on February 12th. Order tickets online.



On July 28 and 29, Chelsea Clinton, the Clinton Foundation Vice Chair, visited Clinton Foundation-funded Haitian projects in Port-au-Prince to oversee agricultural improvement, health reform and female employment progress.

The Clinton Foundation’s slogan is “Partners in Haiti’s Future,” and the organization has definitely created many opportunities for the country to flourish in the present. The work of the foundation and its supporters has aided more than 85,000 farmers with new agriculture techniques. In addition, more than 350,000 people’s lives were bettered because of the organization’s social enterprises, and 9.9 million people have access to HIV/AIDS medication.

In total, the Clinton Foundation has helped raise more than $30 million for Haiti for its Trees of Hope program, Clinton Climate Initiative, Chakipi Acceso Distribution Enterprise, the Clinton Health Access Initiative and more.

Clinton visited Haiti to supervise the projects as well as inspire those who are being helped by the foundation. Clinton observed local artisans, posting an Instagram picture of herself holding a locally crafted doll with the caption “#ActionIsGreater through partnership and collaboration.”

This photo practices some of the Clinton Foundation’s guiding principles: “We’re all in this together,” and “The greatest good is helping people live their best life story.”

To further acknowledge these principles, Clinton hosted a meeting with the Clinton Foundation President, Donna Shalala, where the two discussed women’s success in the Haitian workplace and ways to create more opportunities for female employment.

Clinton said the implementation of new programs for the betterment of Haiti’s female youth is crucial to female empowerment and achievement.

“We need programs… to help close the gap, so that girls and young women who haven’t had the chance to get educated don’t live with the burden of illiteracy their whole lives,” she said.

During her stay, Clinton made it a point to visit local female-owned businesses to show support for successful female entrepreneurship. The business, Caribbean Craft, is supported by the Clinton Foundation where products are crafted and later sold in popular U.S. stores like Anthropologie and HomeGoods.

In support of other projects, Clinton visited the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership’s (CGEP) Acceso-Haiti depot. There, local farmers can store their peanuts for safe-keeping. The depot also serves to empower local farmers.

“Across Haiti, CGEP is helping more than 1,500 local smallholder farmers increase their peanut yields dramatically and better sort and store their peanuts,” Clinton said.

Because of depots like this, the Clinton Foundation has helped Haitian farmers grow higher yields of crops and improve market access. In turn, the organization’s help with agriculture creates greater opportunities for a healthy lifestyle.

To check up on the Foundation’s projects for better health in Haiti, Clinton visited Partners in Health’s Mirebalais Hospital. This hospital is the country’s top educational hospital because of the influence of one of the Clinton Foundation’s supporters, Paul Farmer.

Because of his commitment, Clinton said that the hospital employees were just as good as health workers in any developed country.

After leaving the hospital, Clinton said she took time to reflect on stories about the projects created by the Clinton Foundation in her heart. She said she feels confident that Haiti’s future is bright.

“I left with an even stronger belief in what’s possible in Haiti,” Clinton said.

The Clinton Foundation has many projects that have greatly benefited the people of Haiti, and the organization is continually editing and drafting plans to implement for the persistent improvement of the Caribbean country.

Fallon Lineberger

Sources: ABC News, Caribbean Journal, Clinton Foundation 1, Clinton Foundation 2, Vogue
Photo: Jakarta Post

Although Kenya’s education system has improved over the past decade, many students are still left behind. One million Kenyan children are currently out of school, and while that number has steadily decreased in recent years, it still places Kenya at ninth in the world for out of school children. Even if a child does complete primary school, the quality of education is often insufficient for retaining necessary skills, a glaring flaw best illustrated with the statistics surrounding illiteracy in Kenya. Among men ages 15 to 29 who have completed six years of primary school, 6 percent are illiterate and another 26 percent are only semi-literate. For women of the same age group with the same level of education, the problem is even worse: 9 percent are illiterate, and 30 percent are semi-literate.

Marginalized children, particularly poor girls from rural areas, have still not benefited from improvements in Kenya’s school system. For example, almost all children from wealthy families in the capital, Nairobi, attend school, but in the North East region, only 55 percent of poor girls and 43 percent of poor boys attend school. This is partly due to the fact that the indirect cost of secondary education typically exceeds the monthly income of many families in rural areas.

Adeso, a Nairobi based development charity, is currently working to bring education to those who may have never had the chance to set foot in a classroom. The organization focuses on the idea that in order to improve the quality of life across Africa, development must come primarily from within Africa. Adeso works on development in four main areas. They aim to educate young people and equip them with necessary life skills, provide humanitarian aid where people lack food security, water, and sanitation, strengthen local economies, and influence local and international government policies.

Adeso runs a mobile school program in rural areas of Kenya that brings learning to nomadic students, usually girls, whose families have to relocate frequently in order to survive. They plan the school calendar around the weather patterns. Most formal learning is scheduled for rainy seasons when children do not have to balance labor demands and are more likely to stay in one place. The schools will travel with students as far as possible to allow them to continue their education.

The mobile school program was launched in February 2014, but funds are expected to run out by 2016. Adeso hopes to continue the program, but faces many obstacles, from political insecurity to poor infrastructure, to a pervasive belief in many areas that girls should not be educated. Adeso is still working towards securing more funding in order to extend the program. However, should the mobile schools close, the organization hopes that students have benefited from further education and can pass on what they have learned to their communities.

Jane Harkness

Sources: Adeso 1, Adeso 2, Adeso 3, Huffington Post, UNESCO
Photo: Miss Tourism Kenya

In many developing countries, like Pakistan, education for girls is not a primary objective. The schools in these countries are often of poor quality. Consequently, many girls drop out during their elementary level school years, to help support their families.

When attending school does not necessarily guarantee learning, parents would rather have their children—especially girls—stay home to help the family.

The quality of Pakistan’s education stems from the country’s poverty.  Currently, measures are being taken in Pakistan to promote higher quality education that is accessible .

Khadim Hussain, an Echidna Global Scholar, founded Grace Association and has been working to develop Community School Networks (CSN). Over the last two years, the organization has been working to train local leaders to make a difference and improve the quality of education throughout the country for girls. The organization focuses on the importance of “the family, community, and the economy in the education of youth, and the core values of social justice, equity, and democracy in the design and implementation of educational programs.”

While Hussain tackles the issue of the quality education, Malala Yousafszai works to change social ideologies regarding women and the right to an education. Malala,  who fought for improved education and subsequently suffered a Taliban attack in October 2012 with two other friends for her culturally extreme ideas of equal education for girls in Pakistan, acts as a symbol of bravery and wisdom for the movement. On Dec. 10, 2014,  she was honored as the youngest to ever receive a Nobel Peace Prize for her courageous actions and words.

With the help of Malala and Hussain, education for girls in Pakistan is improving. Malala will continue to fight for what she believes to expand the opportunities for girls across the country. The friends of Malala continue to fight as well, saying “when you are educated, you are able to do everything. If you are not educated, you can’t do anything.”

– Erin Coughlin

Sources: Brookings, Education Innovations, WKYT
Photo: Flickr