It is true that quality education is one of the important ways of creating a progressive and adaptive society to change and development. In the modern-day world, the narrative to access to education is linked to a complex combination of interrelated life facets, providing the much-needed hype to invest in education and the empowerment of youth towards a future of prosperity and development. Legally, education is a fundamental human right that should be prioritized and respected universally.
One of the degrading realities in the modern-day world is the perpetual existence of poverty and inequality that is so visible everywhere. In Africa, the poverty levels continue to escalate, precipitated by bad governance, rural/urban divide and a widespread culture of corruption and unfair trade trends. 171 million people could be lifted out of extreme poverty if all children left school with basic reading skills. That would be equivalent to a 12% drop in the world total. Fundamentally, education has traditionally increased the opportunity for positive social mobility, providing an opportunity of growth and development between one generation to the other and increasing employability, opportunities and networks for many, consequently helping to bridge the poverty circle.
I have the strong conviction that education plays a pivotal role to trigger new ideas, independent thinking and research capabilities that promote experimental and problem posing learning. A considerable number of schools of thoughts have demonstrated the importance of education and training for the innovative capacity and performance of individual, communities and the global economy in its entirety. Today, Higher and tertiary education provides the hope and possibility of global solutions to global challenges like climate change, food security, migration and general governance and leadership crises across nations. At the center of education is research, research brings innovation and innovation creates opportunities that respond to the world’s pressing issues. In Zimbabwe for example, the investment in research and innovation is still very limited and the capacity of research institutions and universities is below standard. An investment in research and innovation thus, provides a great opportunity for growth and development bridging the gap between the reality and the possible and most importantly creating home grown solutions to local problems.
One of the trending topical issues in the modern-day society has been the importance to give opportunities for both males and females, creating a society in which both men and women can live in harmony through complementary roles and understanding. The efforts towards that gender sensitive society is threatened by many forces across the globe. In Zimbabwe, the cultural, normative and political context continue to deter the ability to respect each other and work against inequality. The gender divide is exacerbated by many factors, the lack of equal opportunities to education and training being one of them. Rural communities still lag in the provision of education, with the condition for the girl child continuing to shrink as compared to their male counterparts. Providing safe educational spaces for both women and men increases their education levels and ability to know and understand their rights and develop skills that increase their competitiveness in economic, political and social development.
Expanding education and equitable access to all is fundamentally important in sustaining the efforts towards poverty eradication, gender equality, economic growth and the broader development of humanity. It takes collective effort to sustain the relationship between the student, the teacher and the society. The linkage between quality education and development will be positive if the education is reflective of the society in which it is offered at the same time giving everyone an opportunity for an education regardless of race, gender, financial/social status or even geographical location.