Education and Development

If a country is to achieve progress on social, economic, and political levels they need to have the human capacity to reach these heights. Progress comes from the people of the country. One cannot import politicians, businessmen, laborers, etc and then leave the people of the country in the dark. A state needs to look inward and build the capability of their own people through education. When I studied in Denmark I learned about the governance of their satellite state Greenland. While Greenland is technically governed by the indigenous people who live there, closer inspection reveals that their bureaucratic and high income positions are all occupied by wealthy Danes who work in Greenland for a year or two before returning home. The Greenlandic people themselves do not occupy these positions because they do not have the skills, most of them barely graduate high school. If they do not receive the education necessary they can never develop economically or politically.

So how do you improve education in developing countries? And how do you do so without excluding certain groups? In many developing nations, a lack of infrastructure prevents children from attending schools. They may have to cross long distances without access to transportation. The schools may be built in a way that doesn’t accommodate students with disabilities such as no wheelchair access. The teachers may not be trained to teach students with disabilities. There are many cases such as this and students are left out because no one has the knowledge or experience to help them. This excludes a major segment of society and leaving people out of the workforce leads to a loss of innovation and expertise that can help economic and social development. Education is an example of how interconnected development issues truly are. Working on one area can lead to solutions in other areas. If infrastructure like roads and buildings cannot be changed to accommodate students, information and communicative technologies can help. ICT’s allow students to access information and attend class sessions without needing to be in there in person. They can also provide alternative methods of learning for those whom traditional modes of education fail. ICT’s also benefit educators, who can tune into training seminars online and educate themselves on new teaching methods from places around the world. Education is fundamental to development, but first we must develop education so that it accommodates everyone.