The Ministry of Education’s innovative decision to use the local community to construct the 9-year Basic Education classrooms is, to me, divine inspiration.
Education is universally acknowledged as an essential element in the process of national development.
The fundamental purpose of investment in education is to empower people with knowledge, skills, values, and the attitudes needed to improve their quality of life, enhance their productivity and enable them to participate fully in the development process.
So essential is education to human development that access to basic education is now considered a human right, and not merely an ingredient in the recipe for economic development.
Access to education is essential for social development. Generally, a country’s literacy rate, primary and lower secondary participation rates are accurate predicators of performance on a range of other key social development indicators.
Investment in education is closely linked with several key social indicators and therefore creates synergy with investments in other sectors, particularly health and nutrition.
The literacy and primary education enrollment rates (especially those for women) of a country are the most effective proxy indicators of a country’s overall level of human development.
In an increasingly competitive international economic environment, investment in education becomes an indispensable instrument to help maintain comparative advantage.
Successful transitions from subsistence agriculture to modern agriculture, from basic industry to high tech, from manufacturing to service provision, all depend on the quality of human capital; and the quality of human capital depends to a large extent on investment in social sectors, including education, health, and nutrition.
Investment in education, especially in basic education, has a high rate of return i.e. the value of the benefits to the individual and to society exceeds the cost of the investment by a large margin.
Experience clearly demonstrates that investment in basic education is a prerequisite for economic development, and that continuing investment in education quality at all levels, together with development of appropriate skills for the workforce, is a prerequisite for continuing economic growth, particularly in an era of rapid and revolutionary advances in information and communications technology (ICT).
Children and adults who attend school are exposed to new ideas that form the basis for social change.
The process of attending school makes a profound impact on the development of what is often called “modernity,” that is, the set of values and attitudes essential for functioning effectively in the evolving societies of the developing world.
Education promotes peace and stability through, for example, peace education, including equity, justice, security, and intercultural education.
The socialisation obtained by attending school includes such values as punctuality, following instructions, managing time, planning work, focusing attention, adhering to rules, and being receptive to new concepts, thus helping to develop persons better suited to function effectively in a changing society-in epitome; this is all about social capita.
Finally education plays an important role in cultural transmission. Transmission of culture, appreciation of cultural heritage, understanding of national history, and inculcation of basic cultural values are all founded in basic education.
The author is Umutara Polytechnic University Vice Rector in charge of academics.