The challenge: A strong education system channels energy and brainpower towards a better future. But around the world, more than 260 million children are out of school, and 15 million girls will never enter a classroom in their life. Half of the world’s children and adolescents do not meet the minimum standards in reading and math, and of the world’s 123 million illiterate youth, 62 percent are girls. These gaps in education translate to a world where people of all ages are left out of opportunity, and do not reach their full potential as adults.
Our solution: From preschool programs to advanced education for adults, our investments train teachers and administrators, and improve classrooms and schools, with a focus on dismantling the barriers to education for women and girls. We support policy and research to develop and scale affordable, innovative solutions that raise the quality and accessibility of public school systems for the most marginalized children worldwide.
I began my formal education with expulsion from preschool.
I redeemed myself by succeeding in primary school, phew. While primary school graduation is essentially a universal achievement in Canada, some Bangladeshi children face many barriers to reaching even this level of education.
On February 22 of this year, I woke up like every other day. I had a coffee, took a shower, and ate breakfast. Except that day I drove five hours to a small rural town in Tanzania called Kilwa to see how Canadians are improving the quality of education for children in East Africa.
Classes are officially underway at the University of Central Asia’s first undergraduate program in Naryn, Kyrgyz Republic. The inaugural cohort of 71 students is hitting the books – with a unique curriculum that has a Canadian connection.
For Betty and Acidiri, reading together is about more than quality family time. Acidiri’s teachers encourage all the parents in the community to read with their children – a strong predictor of academic success later in life.
Primary school enrollment in East Africa has improved significantly, but the number of children in class only tells part of the story. For students to get the most out of school, they need a quality education system with well-trained teachers and staff.