by Michaela Malkowski
Picture yourself as a student. All of the things you had to learn the past years all started since you were a child. Your parents and your preschool teacher taught you all of the soft skills you know today. Those soft skills could include responsibility, using strong communications skills, and problem solving strategies. Each and every soft skill you learned has helped you one time or another. These soft skills are important for a child’s educational future. What are Africans doing to help increase early childhood education enrollment in sub- Saharan Africa?
Having parent involvement in a child’s early education is crucial. Parent involvement is one important thing that is missing in sub- Saharan Africa, that could help improve the enrollment of children in school. Early childhood education is defined as happening before the age of eight, when a child will go through a rapid development of growth. 1 Having the parents educated gives a child more confidence. Parents being involved in their child’s education is very important. Parent and teacher communication is crucial, because parents need to know what is happening in the classroom. Whether their child is striving to do their best or having a difficult time keeping up with the lesson needs to be communicated between teacher and parent. This way parents and teachers can talk about how they can help a child not to struggle, or if they need to be challenged more.
The most important thing for education is to have highly qualified teachers. We rely on these people to teach children accurately and be able to help them if they are struggling. In sub- Saharan Africa, they are struggling to find enough qualified teachers to educate children. “The educational system needs to find quality teachers, who will specifically specialize in early childhood education.” 2Teachers need to get a proper education and receive a certificate or a degree in early childhood education. “There should be four essential components supporting teacher effectiveness: decent conditions of employment, which includes appropriate contracts and salaries, and prospects for career progression and promotion; good conditions in the work environment with high-quality pre-and in-service training for teachers; and effective management, including teacher recruitment and deployment.” 3 Giving teachers fair salaries and benefits will increase the amount of people wanting to go into teaching.
Education is important, but having a school with quality teachers and adequate facilities needs funding. Having proper funding for schools will help increase enrollment, and children will be able to get the proper education to help them strive throughout their life. The United States is also struggling with funding for schools. “The average cost of the center-based care in the United States compromises nearly thirty percent of the median family income.” 4 Being able to support children who have disabilities and need more help, will increase with time. School supplies, clean facilities, and a playground for young children are important, and funding from the government is crucial for children to succeed.
Multiple governments in Sub Saharan Africa are not having enough funding for teachers, they are trying to do as much as possible. The State of Education in Africa had a conference in 2015 to see what they could do to help solve these problems in sub- Saharan Africa. They are making an effort to help get education for children and to make sure that they have proper facilities and a quality education. The United States struggles as well as sub- Saharan Africa, and could use the financial support. Sub- Saharan Africa isn’t the only region who is struggling with early childhood education, but they are making an attempt to make a change for the better.
1. Early Childhood Education. (2018). The National Association for the Education of Young Children. Retrieved from https://teach.com/become/where-can-i-teach/grade-levels/early-childhood/.
2. Howell, M. (2015). Early Childhood Education: Helping the most at-risk succeed. The Africa- America Institute. Retrieved from http://www.aaionline.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/AAI-SOE-Outcomes-Report-2015-final.pdf.
3. Sub-Saharan Africa need new and qualified teachers. (2017).United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. Retrieved from http://www.unesco.org/new/en/dakar/about-this-office/single-view/news/sub_saharan_africa_need_new_and_qualified_teachers/.
4. Early Learning in the United States:2017. (2017). Center for American Progress. Retrieved from https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/early-childhood/reports/2017/07/20/436169/early-learning-united-states-2017/.