There is an ugly and protracted battle going on between B.C.’s teachers and provincial government and as predictable as those conflicts are, so must follow endless public hand-wringing about the fate of the children, and the potential dire impacts of a disrupted education.
The majority of the world can only look at our situation and think: “We should be so lucky.” Currently, 57 million primary-grade kids are out of school. Barely half of all countries are expected to provide primary education by next year. Yet it used to be much worse: due to the efforts of the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) and donors like Canada, since 1999 the number of uneducated children worldwide has been halved. A good example is Afghanistan: the number of children attending school has gone from one to 11.5 million, and almost half are girls.
But the need is enormous, and later this month the GPE is slated for renewed funding, and is facing an annual shortfall of $26 billion. Canada needs to double its current commitment of $60 million if the GPE is to achieve its goal.
Compared to B.C., the challenges facing education in the rest of the world are far more dire. But while B.C.’s education issues are complex, this one is very simple – the Harper government doubling it’s commitment will help ensure that the GPE reaches those final 57 million kids.