In today’s competitive world it is evident that education is an essential human virtue, a necessity of society, basis of good life and sign of freedom. It plays a vital role in the development and progress of any country. Today, education is very important for success. Only educated leaders and nation builders take a nation to the heights of success and progress.

On day two of the All Africa Youth Convention in Nairobi, hosted by the the African Alliance of YMCAs and the All Africa Conference of Churches, youth representatives from around Africa discussed education as it is one of the key Agenda 2063 thematic areas which needs attention in order for development in Africa to be actualised.

While there is much reason to celebrate the progress in education that Africa has made over the past decade, there is a deeper learning crisis that needs to be addressed. Unless African governments work together and act now to raise standards and improve learning outcomes, the potential of tens of millions of African youth will be wasted and Africa’s social and economic progress will stagnate.

“We need complete access to quality education despite ones location, whether rural or urban, to have an all rounded education system, one that seeks to bring out a holistic person, academically, socially, spiritually and physically”, echoed Gladwell Wambui Rurinja an AACC representative from Kenya.

The barriers that keep young people out of school are alarming and numerous. Vulnerable children (including girls, orphans, children with disabilities, children affected by HIV and AIDS or by armed conflict and natural disasters) are at particular risk of missing out.

“Often, parents cannot afford the direct and indirect costs, such as school books and uniforms, of their children’s schooling. Qualified teachers are in short supply, and many schools are located far away from children’s homes, a factor that can increase the risk of sexual abuse and harassment. Lack of access to safe water and separate latrines for boys and girls can also discourage children, especially girls, from attending school,” said Ernestine Kamarora, AACC representative from Rwanda. “These barriers, coupled with other problems – disability, exclusion and emergencies, for example – create high levels of out-of-school children,” she added.

Education is necessary for the success of every field and sector in Africa. In this era of advanced technology, getting quality education should not be a problem because technology makes it easier for us. Success in any form depends on education whether formal or informal. It is an undeniable fact that with an educated society, unemployment is reduced and productivity is increased, bringing about prosperity and development.

Indeed the importance of quality education cannot be over emphasised. For one to be happy, one needs to feel good from within. It is only possible to have a stable mind and balanced life once one is independent and has a reputable standing in society. By simply being educated one would have job insecurity, increased self confidence and a well organised understanding of the world. Education may not be the key to happiness, but it definitely is the key to a lot of other things which come together to make you happy.

By Daniel Phiri, S2C Ambassador, Zambia YMCA

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