Girl on Fire: U.S. in comparison to international education

[As seen in Creston News Advertiser, February 19, 2015]

Recently, I’ve read stories about the nation’s education system, and the different pieces of legislation being considered to improve and expand graduation rates and work force.

I want to commend several people I know who are continuing their education. My friend and former coworker Sarah Brown is obtaining her master’s degree, while maintaining a job and caring for her family. Kelsey Hollen, another friend, also has her master’s degree in the works while working full-time at Southwestern Community College.

There are also several firefighters, and countless other friends of mine who are continuing their education, whether it be an associate’s, bachelor’s or master’s degree.

In comparison to our national system, according to statistics developed by United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), in Cambodia, of the six and a-half million people over the age of 25 living in the country as of 2009, 17.5 percent of men and 37.3 percent of women had no education. Also, 34.4 percent of men and 37.3 percent of women did not have a complete primary education.

In the United Kingdom, as of 2011 there were 43 and a-half million people over the age of 25, and .1 percent of males and .2 percent of females did not have any education.

In the United States, as of 2012 there were 211 million people over the age of 25. Of those people, .4 percent of males and females had no education, while .9 percent of males and .8 percent of females had an incomplete primary education.

Now, these statistics only show one facet of a stone with many. Things that must be taken into consideration include population sizes, national economy, views of gender equality and accessibility to school.

I think for the most part, children in the U.S. have a higher accessibility to education than a lot of countries in the world, and, I also think, Americans can take education for granted because of that accessibility.

For example, I have a cousin, Christy Nekvinda, who is a Peace Corps volunteer in Botswana, Africa. She is in the middle of trying to get money to her village so they can build a preschool.

A preschool. Can you imagine living in a place where sending your child to preschool was unheard of? Many conclude preschool to be a building block of a child’s life, where they learn to socialize with other children and begin learning creativity and fundamentals to learning.

Maybe it’s just me, but perhaps something we should do is take a minute to appreciate what we in America have, teaching our future generations more to make the world better. I know there are many people who strive to do that, so maybe those people on either side of the political line can get along and bring education to the forefront.

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