‘You are actually one of the lucky ones’

Stonehaven view
Stonehaven view

S3 pupils at Mackie Academy have been studying poverty in Africa and tasked to write a news article which would interest local readers.

The Modern Studies class at the Stonehaven school has been learning about current issues in Africa but also touching on broader ones such as education, health and human rights.

Over the past few weeks we’ve brought you some of the best articles written by the S3 pupils.

Erin Patterson wrote the following:

Attendance at Scottish primary schools has been compulsory for every child since 1872. Whether it’s Arduthie Primary school, Dunnottar primary school or wherever you would like to send your child, there will always be a place and it will always be free. However, in many countries around the world, this is unheard of. UNESCO, a UN organisation, reported recently that it will be at least seventy years before all children will have access to primary school.

The report was published on the January 29 this year in Ethiopia. The organisation that contributes to education, science and culture worldwide produces this report annually to monitor the progress of the UN Millennium Development Goals. The aim was for every child to receive education by 2015 but it is now estimated for that to be achieved by 2086.

There are many factors that could be to blame for the disappointing statistics. Although education is free in Scotland, that isn’t common in Africa where it is often expensive.

One of the main reasons that children don’t go to primary school is because their parents need them to help on the family farm or to fetch water.

In many circumstances, schools are full with up to one hundred pupils in a class. It can also be too far for a child to travel to.

Although there is a lack of primary schools worldwide, the quality of the existing ones can be poor. Overcrowded classrooms, a lack of learning resources and a shortage of well-trained teachers can cause the quality of education to not be up to standard.

If a child’s primary education is poor, then they will benefit less and it could even be a better use of their time to stay home.

Another problem is that girls are at a disadvantage because to boys who are normally favoured. Stereotypically, women stay at home to do housework.

In developed countries, this has faded but in developing countries, it still remains and girls often miss out on schooling. This will need to end if all children are to attend primary school.

It is thought that there is a global learning crisis with one in four young people in poor countries illiterate.

The report also says that not only is the current help for education ineffective, the amount of it is actually decreasing.

The author, Pauline Rose, says that these are “shocking figures” with fifty seven million children without schools. Seventy years is a long wait for worldwide primary education and for this to improve, serious progress will have to be made.

So the next time your child complains about having to go to school, maybe remind them of how lucky they are.

Heather Butchart wrote the following:

The Millennium Development Goal stated that by 2015 every child would be able to go to a school, this as we know will not be met.

Around Stonehaven people are extremely lucky, as we have three primary schools and every child that lives in the area goes to one of the schools. In Africa not all children have the opportunity that children in the UK have.

57 million children remain without schooling, and at the current rate it will be 2086 before access is reached for every child, that’s more than 70 years.

Children who are at the current primary age will be in the elderly stages of their life by the time it may be achieved. The lack of education for all and the poor quality of schools in poorer countries is described as a ‘Global Learning Crisis’.

In poorer countries, one in four young people are unable to read a single sentence. The aid for education is declining rather than increasing and is not being targeted at the poorest countries that need the most help.

Young girls have a less likely chance to go to primary than boys and it won’t be until the next century before rural girls will all have a placement at primary schools. In Scotland however, girls are actually outperforming the boys in both exams and the sheer amount of girls actually attending schools.

130 million children still remain illiterate and innumerate despite having been in school as teachers are not fully qualified and very few children continue into academy.

Niger has the single greatest number of children without a primary school placement, also in Tanzania only 3.5% of children have textbooks for basic learning, and there are overcrowded class sizes of up to 130 pupils in Malawi.

So next time you complain about having to get up early remember that you are actually one of the lucky ones for having an education.