Imagine a journey through time, from 2012 to 2021, where Primary Education Expenditure in the MENA region is on a decreasing trend from 4% to 3%. It’s a concerning trend that threatens the very foundation of education for our children.
The problem is crystal clear. When you cut down on education spending, you’re essentially trimming the wings of future generations. The numbers don’t lie. The shrinking budget for primary education means dilapidated schools, underpaid teachers, and a lack of essential learning materials.
The Bright Path Forward
The road to recovery starts with one word: Investment.
- Pouring more funds into primary education.
- Making the most of available resources.
- Shouting from the rooftops about why this matters.
- Rewarding those who make it happen.
How do we know our solution works?
Numbers don’t lie, but they can also tell a tale of triumph. And “Cote D’ivoire” is a great example. When increasing the educational expenditure, the percentage of children school drop outs decreased from 31% in 2013 to 3.1% in 2021.
The results speak for themselves. More investment equals better education. Keep the funds flowing, optimize, and let’s champion education together.
When we invest in primary education, we invest in brighter futures. It’s high time MENA governments heed the call and secure quality education for all.
by Charbel Hanna Daou (MSBA 24)
In the heart of the Caribbean, Jamaica faces a startling reality: its soaring intentional homicide rate is not just a statistic, but a looming shadow over the nation’s future. This crisis goes beyond mere numbers, threatening the very fabric of Jamaican society and shaking the pillars of stability and safety that its citizens rely on. It’s a call to action, demanding not just attention, but a deep dive into the root causes and a strategic battle plan to turn the tide against this wave of violence. The urgency to address and mitigate this issue couldn’t be more pressing, as the fate of Jamaica’s well-being hangs in the balance.
Delving into the Crisis
The alarming rise in Jamaica’s homicide rates over the past two decades is a cause for serious concern. The data shows an increase to 52.1 homicides per 100,000 people by 2021, a figure that not only stands out in the Caribbean region but also ranks highest on a global scale. This disturbing trend is indicative of deeper societal and systemic issues that need to be addressed with urgency and precision.
Strategic Approaches Aligned with SDGs
In response to this escalating crisis, two potential strategic solutions, in alignment with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), present themselves as viable pathways to combat the high homicide rates:
- Increasing Government Health Expenditure (Aligned with SDG 3): This strategy focuses on the crucial role of health in society. By boosting government spending on health care, particularly in areas like mental health services and addiction treatment, Jamaica could tackle some of the underlying factors contributing to the high rate of homicides. The premise here is that better access to health services, including mental health care, can play a significant role in preventing violence and crime.
- Extending the Duration of Compulsory Education (Aligned with SDG 4): Education is a powerful tool for social change. By increasing the years of compulsory education, Jamaica could address several root causes of crime, including poverty and inequality. Education not only equips individuals with knowledge and skills but also opens up opportunities, promoting social mobility and reducing the likelihood of individuals engaging in criminal activities.
Learning from Global Experiences
The experiences of the Russian Federation and Colombia provide valuable lessons. Both countries have demonstrated a correlation between enhanced health expenditures, extended compulsory education, and a decrease in intentional homicides. In contrast, Jamaica’s relatively stagnant approach in these areas might be contributing to its high homicide rates. This comparison suggests that adopting similar strategies could yield positive results in Jamaica.
Government of Jamaica, Here’s What You Should Do
Given the evidence and the success of similar strategies in other countries, the following recommendations are proposed for Jamaica:
- Increase Health Expenditure: A substantial increase in health expenditure per capita, specifically by a minimum of $100, could significantly improve the quality and accessibility of health services. This step would not only address immediate health concerns but also contribute to the long-term goal of reducing violence and crime.
- Reform Education Policies: Strengthening and reforming education policies to extend the duration of compulsory education to at least 12 years is crucial. This change would have far-reaching effects, not only in educating the populace but also in providing them with better opportunities and reducing the likelihood of them resorting to crime.
In the face of its daunting homicide rates, Jamaica stands at a crucial crossroads. The journey ahead is challenging, but it’s also filled with opportunity. By adopting innovative strategies like increasing health expenditure and extending compulsory education, Jamaica isn’t just fighting crime; it’s reinventing its future. This bold move towards enhancing healthcare and education could be the key to unlocking a new era of peace and stability. Imagine a Jamaica where every citizen is empowered by knowledge and supported by a robust healthcare system. That’s the vision—a safer, stronger Jamaica, thriving in harmony and moving confidently towards a brighter tomorrow.
Reducing child labor via quality education
Child labor has persistently posed a global challenge, acting as a barrier to children’s education and jeopardizing their future. According to figures from the World Bank, the number of working children significantly decreases as the rate of educational attainment increases. This observation spans the period between 1977 and 2017, revealing a potential inverse correlation between child labor and education attainment.
Situation in Lebanon
World Bank figures indicate a significant decrease in the rate of children in the labor market between 2000 and 2020; however, there was a slight increase in 2021. The issue is intricately complicated, with various factors severely affecting public school education. Firstly, the number of students enrolling in public schools from refugee camps has notably increased since 2011. Locally, the severe financial crisis has deeply impacted the Ministry of Education’s budget since 2019, compounded by other factors such as the devaluation of the Lira, the Beirut Port explosion, and COVID-19 lockdowns.
Statistics reveal that child labor is more prevalent among male children in Lebanon. However, relying solely on these figures is insufficient, given the existence of different forms of informal labor not addressed by the World Bank and the International Labor Organization.
In the absence of updates from international institutions or local government agencies, I turned to various surveys conducted by local stakeholders and international NGOs. These surveys shed light on the deteriorating quality of education, particularly in public schools and, to a lesser extent, within private schools.
Roadmap towards a solution
Various stakeholders, including the Lebanese government and international institutions, should collaborate to initiate a comprehensive multi-stakeholder plan aimed at reversing the deteriorating quality in the public school system. In addition to financial support, this plan should address critical factors such as the number of schools, the availability of qualified teachers, and curriculum improvements.
On the government front, it is imperative to establish coordination among three key ministries: Education, Labor, and Social Affairs. This collaborative effort will create a legal framework addressing child labor issues, implementing a high-quality educational curriculum, and promoting awareness within the most affected segments of society.
Education is the cornerstone of development, unlocking doors to a brighter future. Education plays an essential role in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The persistent challenge of education in African countries, particularly for adolescents, has always been an obstacle, contributing to the developmental lag experienced of these nations.
Adolescents out of school in 2012:
In 2012, a large percentage of adolescents were out of schools. Reasons vary but they can be summarized in
- Inadequate educational infrastructure
- Social disparities especially marriage
- Barriers to access in rural areas
- Shortage of qualified teachers
- Limited access to modern teaching materials
Adolescents-out-of-school rate in African Countries:
The map assures visually and represents educational challenge with larger red circles denote higher percentages where the adolescents-out-of-school rate is really high in comparison to other countries.
The high marriage rates in often limit access to formal learning opportunities. The social expectations surrounding marriage can act as a barrier, particularly for young girls, impeding their ability to complete their education. However, fast forward to 2022, a shift in the educational landscape had occurred. In 2016, marriage rates for girls under 15 stood at a shocking 93%. However, a line chart traced a journey of change from 2016 to 2017, witnessing a substantial drop to 62%. The trend continued into the years 2020 and 2021, where the marriage rate further decreased to a promising 29%.
Now, this shows the rate of out-of-school adolescents that had fallen. Hope began to blossom becoming an inspiration of progress in the (SDGs).
Correlation between Marriage and School enrollment:
The story unfolded with a realization – the decline in early marriages played a key role in fostering educational empowerment with a correlation between decrease in marriage rates and increase in school enrollment. Yet, a small number is still beyond the ideas of education.
Urgent Call for action:
- Community Engagement and Awareness
- Investment in Infrastructure
- Government Policy Reforms
- Teacher Training and Support
- Partnerships with NGOs and Corporations
- Monitoring and Evaluation
The tale of progress in African education reminds the world that transformation is possible when communities unite, prioritize education, and nurture the dreams of their youth…