Education: Parents Make their Own School
Parents finance the education of their children due to the incapacity of states when it comes to guaranteeing a quality education for all in developing countries.
Achieving universal primary education for all is the goal that is set by world leaders in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The second goal of the Millennium Development aims to ensure that all children, boys and girls, around the world can benefit from a full course of primary schooling by 2015. There are some noticeable advances within two years of this deadline: nearly 90% of school-age children are enrolled/schooled across over 60 developing countries. However, “school enrollment rates are still too low in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia countries,” as noted by Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary General of the United Nations, in his Report of 2010 on the MDGs.
Schooling: A difficult equation to be solved for poor countries
Children sitting on the floor in overcrowded classrooms, that is the real image that reflects the situation in primary schools in poor countries. Besides, the majority of these schools have a lack of basic teaching materials such as textbooks, charts, books, etc., which leads many children to drop out of school before completing their studies. The primary school completion rate was a mere 73% across all developing countries in 1999.
Disparities in the educational levels between the rich and the poor are deplorable
In the early 90s in Pakistan, 86% of rich kids ages 6 to 14 years were enrolled while 37% only of poor children were enrolled. In addition, there is strong disparity between the sexes: the enrollment of girls is very low in comparison with boys. Girls are particularly disadvantaged in South Asia and Africa, along with children with disabilities. It is estimated that only 5% of children with disabilities are educated in Africa because they are turned to begging instead of going to school.
The difficulties of achieving an outstanding education system in poor countries is significant and the most important factor to consider is the failure of the education system at the political level. In addition to the limited resources and/or the political willingness of these states, they have relegated the educational field to the level of expense of infrastructure such as roads, which benefit from donations from rich/developed countries.
Some parents with modest incomes have decided to get their hands dirty,= due to the failure of states when it comes to providing a quality education to their offspring.
The parents in rescue
Despite the poverty, some poor parents with low income have been investing all their money in order to educate their children!
Chad, a country in central Africa, has a long tradition of parental involvement in the financing and management of elementary education. In Chad, some schools were managed by communities during the colonial period as more than half of primary school teachers were recruited and supervised by parent-teacher associations. The country (with the assistance of the World Bank) pays 80% of teacher salaries while parent associations cover the rest.
Studies have shown that parental contributions can enhance the quality of education and can contribute to improved grades. Indeed, the educational outcomes of children encourage some parents that were initially reluctant to send their children to school.
Experience shows that when the parents pay for the education of their children, they become more attentive on the profitability of their investment and assure better monitoring of their children.
A study conducted in the Philippines shows that primary schools that rely on local funding (parental contributions and public) tend to be more effective.
By moving the financing towards local level, the contributions of the parents can improve the management of schools. The financing of education allows parents to pay directly for the education of their children, instead of subsidizing it via tax levies.
The only drawback seems to be that parents cannot bear all of these burdens alone. New investments into education will inject new life into the educational system and help ensure education for all.