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Is Education For All Really “For All”?

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October 2014
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Every September, the international community descends on New York City to participate in the United Nations General Assembly. The month alone signifies change, as we start to see flickers of the seasonal shift, but it also means something for the global landscape as we see so many world leaders come together to discuss the greatest needs around the globe.

According to Alice Albright, the CEO of the Global Partnership for Education, this year’s gathering “demonstrated a growing momentum to bring quality education to more of the world’s children” with “encouraging evidence of the education sector’s rise in prominence on the global development agenda.”[1]

Many of the meetings attended addressed the need for a stronger commitment on behalf of all countries to make quality education both equitable and inclusive. Additionally, First Lady Michelle Obama and Qatar’s Shikha Moza Bint Nasser both declared their support for quality education, with additional efforts needed in giving more young women access to education.

We here at the IDP Foundation, Inc. are pleased with the increasing interest in the educational crisis the world is facing. However, we continue to push for the global dialogue to include the ever-growing low cost private school sector in order to ensure that children attending these schools receive a quality education too.

Educational institutions like Star Academy Preparatory & Junior High School in Mpoase, outside of Accra, do not receive government recognition or assistance – despite meeting criteria required to become registered with the Ghana Education Service (GES). This is where the IDP Rising Schools Program has stepped in to assist, by giving these proprietors access to capital through our micro-finance lending program in partnership with Sinapi Aba Trust.

Prior to our presence in Ghana, lending institutions were not serving the needs of low cost private school owners, and when Emmanuel Mills met with officials from Sinapi Aba Trust in late 2012, he felt our partnership would be the best option for his school and his students. He enrolled in the 9-week training program in financial literacy and school management, in order to provide a better working and learning environment for his students and staff. Upon completion, he was able to apply for a low interest loan, to improve the infrastructure of the school, and create a better learning environment for the students.

Today his enrollment has increased; he’s serving both boys and girls in the area, and helping to close the gender gap. Star Academy offers a Weighing Centre on campus, where community nurses from the Ministry of Health carry out routine clinic days for nursing mothers and their infant children. This is extremely important for the community, in addition to increasing the number of young girls being exposed to the academy. Despite their successes achieved with the help of the IDP Rising Schools Program, Emmanuel and his staff are in need of many other services, such as textbooks and teacher training, that the government should provide in order to ensure quality education for all of Ghana’s children.

As we begin to see conversations about education increase amongst the world leaders and citizens, we mustn’t forget about the low cost private school sector in developing nations fighting to be recognized as contributing to the educational landscape.
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