Quality education for all: Three ways we are improving access to education
Volunteer Writer: Emily Fairchild
To say education is important would be the understatement of the century. Not only is quality education for all one of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, it also contributes to every single other goal, from economic growth to inequality and protecting the planet.
And yet education, particularly in developing countries, faces constant obstacles from all sides; climate change, technological disruption, inequality and, more recently, COVID-19. According to UNESCO, these challenges “further widen inequalities and exert an impact for decades to come.”
In fact, Covid-19 has wiped out 20 years of educational gains, according to the UN, at a time when education couldn’t be more important to securing the future of our planet. According to UNICEF, school children worldwide have lost 1.8 trillion hours of in-class learning since the start of the pandemic, with over a quarter of schools still suffering full- or part-time closure. That’s why, now more than ever, it is critical to focus on children who are being left behind.
At the Breteau Foundation, we are working toward a world where every disadvantaged child can access quality education, regardless of their background or location. This means we have put significant efforts into providing access to learning for children negatively affected by the pandemic. In 2021, we reached 32,843 students.
To mark International Education Day on 24 January, we’re sharing three key projects that are improving access to education in developing countries, and how you can support us in bringing quality education to the most vulnerable children.
Edtech Tablet Programme
In 2021, we adapted our EdTech Tablet programme so we could continue our work in primary schools across South Africa, Colombia, Lebanon and the Dominican Republic. We continue to distribute tablets loaded with learning content aligned to the national curriculum and focused on literacy, numeracy, creativity and critical thinking. To address some of the inequality in digital literacy among teachers in developing countries, we also provide strategic support and teacher training to help teachers feel confident integrating our tablets in their classrooms.
BF Home Tablet Programme
Covid-19 brought inequalities in education into sharp focus, by forcing children to learn from home, often with little or no internet access. At BF, we acted quickly with our EdTech partner OneBillion to address this by providing offline tablets loaded with learning activities focusing on literacy, numeracy and reading comprehension. The programs are adaptive, meaning that each child receives personalised learning activities. The impact was huge. Studies in Malawi showed that a child using the numeracy activities for just 30 minutes a day for 8 weeks made as much progress as in a whole year of teaching.
Our STEAM Global Programme
The increasingly complex problems facing the world require innovative solutions, and that starts with education. Our Better World STEAM challenge, where students collaborated to find innovative solutions for problems caused by COVID-19 (using science, technology, engineering, arts, and maths) was a huge success in Latin America last year. This year, we’ve expanded the competition globally to engage more students to think creatively to solve some of our key problems. To learn more about our STEAM initiatives, you can register through our website.
Help us reach more disadvantaged children
Our work is only possible with the support of people worldwide. To allow us to help more children affected by education poverty, sponsor a technology toolkit and help us make quality education more accessible to children in disadvantaged communities