Education In Developing Countries
Oct 12, 2008 English Language Teaching (ELT) 2554 Views
How do developing countries handle education amid the more pressing everyday challenges imposed by economic pressures and threats to security, law and order?
Certainly, there are more serious problems to face, but it is significant to note that education is not forgotten. For many, it is still the best way to overcome hardship and poverty. However elusive, it is still considered the key to a better life.
Among developing countries that are classified as "emerging markets," it is not surprising to see educational institutions that are world-class and which offer education that can rival that provided by wealthier nations around the world. These include such countries as Mexico, India, Brazil, Turkey, the Philippines, Egypt, South Africa, Malaysia, Thailand, much of South America and several of the Persian Gulf Arab States.
Unfortunately, although world-class education is readily available, it is still beyond reach for a significant portion of the population of these countries.
At the lowest spectrum of the economic scale, it is not surprising to see a low view of the importance of education as parents tend to prioritize their children's ability to make money over the longer-term benefits of schooling. But studies have shown that when poor families reach a certain economic threshold where their basic needs are met, their next priority is to put their children in school. Their next concern usually is where to get their kids a decent education since many public schools have low educational standards, which is understandable considering that teachers are often paid a lot less than in other similar professions. On the other hand, when they do find a school they like, they have to move heaven and earth to get their kids into that school because of low acceptance rates.
There are encouraging trends. For instance, India has launched EDUSAT, an education satellite that can reach more of the country at a greatly reduced cost. There are also initiatives to develop a $100 laptop to make laptops available to most students by late 2006 or 2007 in order to give their children a digital education. Africa has also launched an "e-school programme" to provide all 600,000 primary and high schools with computer equipment, learning materials and internet access within 10 years. Other countries have simialr initiatives along these same lines.