Today is a day to celebrate teachers, our personal and collective learning through our lifespans. Teachers include, engaged parents, grandparents, extended family members and friends who taught us our first coherent lessons for life and of course the formal teachers who influenced us throughout our lives.
Rahima is a mother of five living in Pakistan’s province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Her youngest is only 2 years old, and the eldest is 16. Her husband and her eldest son frequently travel between Malakand in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Karachi in Sindh in search of work and economic activities.
Walking through the unpaved path between the houses made up of bricks, leading to a village government school in Charsada, made me feel excited and filled with enthusiasm that I couldn’t wait to see the learners and the teachers.
With: 23 million children out of school; almost half of the 10 year old students having achieved the linguistic competence of a 6 year old (in either their mother tongue or in Urdu); 50% of grade 5 lacking competency of grades 2 (Maths, Urdu/Pashto/Sindhi and English); 42% of government primary schools in the rural areas without electricity; 40% lacking access to clean drinking water and 49% lacking functioning toilets, we can clearly reveal that education is NOT a priority across Pakistan.
Across valleys, mountains and pyramids in Mexico, a week of intensive learning in communities along with children, teachers and volunteers in schools, university and was an awesome experience.
The discussions in Pakistan around who is in and who is out – who learns and who does not – are getting louder. And so they should, as we now have a mounting burden of unmet milestones that are piling high.
Gulalai Ahmadzai, just short of her 10th birthday and travelling a long distance in a convoy from South Waziristan near the Afghan border to Gadap near the Arabian Sea in the city of Karachi, looks bewildered.
We listen to the same music.
We watch the same movies.
We eat the same food.
We farm the same land.
According to a review undertaken by Charlotte Waters at the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER), the citizen-led approach being used in India, Mali, Senegal, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda is yielding reliable information about children’s basic learning levels, measuring change in these levels and raising awareness of local issues.
While education has been declared a fundamental human right, and is undoubtedly life changing for boys, girls, men and women alike, it is especially beneficial for girls. Investing in female education is by far one of the best investments that families, communities and countries can make.