When it comes to the world’s biggest problems, it turns out they have problems of their own. That explains in part why they are so big.
Education is one of those big problems, which contains a collection of multi-faceted problems within, many of which we don’t know how to solve, and others we don’t even realize they exist. Furthermore, education is recurring problem underlying many, if not all of the other big problems today.
A recent video by the Financial Times sheds light on just a taste of this intricate landscape of educational and education-borne problems, from the standpoint of another big problem: Girls’ quality of live and their landscape of future opportunity. It crosses from economic inequality, power imbalances and freedom of speech, to basic sanitation and environmental issues.
But to keep things “light”, here are some high level points mentioned by the Times, where focusing on girls education could be a way to help address some of the other big problems:
Failure to ensure girls complete basic education has lifelong economic costs for both the girl and the economy they belong to. Conversely, investing in early-age female education enrollment and completion leads to better individual and national income. A point supported by financial figures from the World Bank.
Two thirds of the children without access to education are female. Patriarchal societies perpetuate the limited roles of girls by keeping them out of school. It also hinders their ability to contribute to the welfare of said patriarchal communities to which they belong.
Girls without proper education tend to marry younger and have more children at an early age. Issues of poverty, health and education, all again reinforce each other. 41,000 girls under the age of 18 marry every day, and are 6 times more likely to remain poor throughout their lives.
Making high-quality education accessible to girls facing these and related risks is today’s most acceptable wisdom. Some of these words, starting with “quality” and “accessible,” need to be broken down further. Higher teacher wages is suggested to contribute to higher scores and lower absenteeism. Impacts are most notable for girls in rural areas. Solutions to this global problem must go beyond providing more access to ordinary K-12 curricula, but should also cover context-specific “life skills”.