Education: A Key Driver for Inclusion and Empowerment

I join the whole world to celebrate the World Education Day by sharing my thoughts on Education as a key driver for inclusion and empowerment. This will probably enlighten someone or encourage someone to take action on educational issues. Find full article below; 


Education is derived from a latin word educere or educare which means to lead out, to bring out, to mold or to train. Education is to bring out the innate potential in every individual. Education in another dimension is the acquisition of knowledge, skills, values and attitudes in order to become a responsible member of the society. Education without the acquisition of knowledge, skills, attitudes and values is just synonymous to schooling. The number of years spent in school or the act of going to school without learning. An education that refuses to bring out the innate potential in an individual is not a true education. An education that denies ones the ability to think independently and to reflect on the actions/results of those thinking to the general public is not a true education. An education that refuses ones to exercise their civic rights is a negative education. Education builds one consciousness and is geared towards achieving local, national and global goals. 


According to World Bank (2018), education improves economic opportunities and individual freedoms! It is a powerful tool for raising income and promoting social mobility. In well functioning labor markets, education reduces the likelihood of unemployment. Across 52 countries at all income levels in 2010 – 14, only 1 in 10 university graduates felt they had little or no control over their lives. I feel so bad, whenever I see graduates not being able to launch new companies or break into the competitive labor markets. I see graduates not being able to even create a basic blog or probably search for opportunities through the internet. I see graduates still having the receiving entitlement and cannot develop skills needed for the changing economy. In one of the World Bank articles, it is not that we don’t have trained workers; we have lack of trainable workers. 


Education without learning is a great injustice. Going by this, children who happened to grow in rural communities, urban slums lack adequate resources to learn in school. They sit on bare floor; they are drenched by rain in the classroom. They lack access to good teachers and trek distances to school. As a SDGs Youth champion this were my experience working on the field to monitor the implementation of SDGs in three local communities in Nigeria. Education should reduces the inequalities gap not widen them. I wonder how some of these students would develop basic education skills such as numeracy and literacy skills. These children grow up not being able to start a business or read campaign promises. This is a huge threat to citizenship and students lacking the ability to solve local, national and global challenges. When students in underserved communities develop the right type of skills in school, they would be able to contribute to economic growth and there would be high returns in education.  


Nevertheless, there are over 263 million children out of school children across the world; this is equivalent to the quarter of the population of people living in Europe (Unesco Institute of Statistics, 2016). This is a huge threat to global and human capital development. In Nigeria, 13.5 million children are also out of school (Unesco, 2018). Majority of these children live in underserved communities (Rural and Urban Slums). There is a need to reduce this numbers through policies that brings these children back to school. One of the policies proven to have worked is Professors Kwame Akyaempong (Centre for International Education, University of Sussex) groundbreaking research on Complementary Basic Education that allows over 250,000 out of school children between the ages of 8 - 14 from some of the poorest area in Ghana to learn basic skills such as numeracy and literacy for 9 months before they are enrolled back to school. 1% Ghana’s budget on basic education goes to this project.


Summarily, we can promote inclusive education, when we focus public spending on the development of education in underserved communities. When we build classrooms and equip it with right equipments and facilities. When we make learning a serious goal (World Bank, 2018), whereby students go to school and can apply what they have learned to launch new initiatives. Where students develop adaptive cognitive skills such as critical thinking and socio-emotional skills such as empathy etc. True empowerment is when students start thinking about creating sustainable solutions to many of our problems. Empowerment is when teachers are equipped with skills to function in a 21st century classroom and can promote inclusiveness in schools. We also have to leverage evidence based data to drive innovation in the educational sector. 

Education if delivered well will reduce intergenerational poverty and promote social mobility. 

Hammed Kayode Alabi

SDGs Youth Champion

Grassroot Quality Education Advocate

Founder and Executive Director - KLCI

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