Quality education is the fourth goal in the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which aims to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.” The UN Global Goals emphasise the importance of higher education scholarships for developing countries. Unicaf celebrated International Education Day with generous scholarships to students in underprivileged parts of the world, helping them transform their lives.
Quality Education and Equity
What seems like a simple thing to many, like going to university, is impossible for others. Unfortunately, education still remains a privilege and not a right. Many have argued that education is not a priority where poverty reigns. Yet that’s precisely the root of the problem. Unquestionably, teaching and learning are our greatest tools to eradicate poverty, as we can use knowledge to create “healthy” societies. Education is a universal equaliser, which can break the chain of poverty, strengthening both the individual and the community.
So, how can we help the ones most in need to access quality higher education?
One would think that governments and people in power should work to increase access to quality education. However, is everyone who holds power willing to make an impact? As long as access to higher education is still alarmingly low in sub-Saharan countries, especially for women, it is evident that we still have a long way to go (Unesco, 2018).
Increasing access to quality higher education
International Education Day is not just another day on the calendar for the Unicaf organisation. Unicaf has been working in sub-Saharan countries to increase access to quality higher education. Unicaf scholars can make a difference in their families’ lives and their countries’ development, even before they graduate. Educated young people have the power and the confidence to work for the elimination of illiteracy and poverty if we support their efforts. Through the Unicaf Scholarship Programme, underprivileged students can gain modern knowledge and skills and immediately apply them at the workplace.
A well-educated workforce is the most effective way to accelerate national development, encourage productivity, and foster better working and living conditions. The quality, cutting-edge higher education provided by Unicaf enables the transformation of lives. Learning from experts can inspire future generations to envision a better world. For all of these reasons, Unicaf promotes quality tertiary education in Africa and other parts of the world, through partnerships with renowned universities in the UK, the USA and Europe.
Education’s greatest tool
Sadly, people living in remote areas, people with physical disabilities and family carers cannot commute to university campuses. Besides, the pandemic has shown that even those who can attend on-campus studies could not access lecture halls at times of crisis. In other words, not even privileged students with a strong support system can enjoy campus learning during such challenging times.
And this is where technology has proven to be a real gift. Even though it might seem impossible to provide equal access to quality higher education worldwide, technology makes this easier.
Online learning allows people living in any country to connect with the internet and “attend” university thousands of miles away. Instead of commuting to university, the university comes to the student’s home through online learning.
Studying online through Unicaf for an internationally recognised degree is definitely empowering young students. They can discover new practices and broaden their skillset while working. Moreover, a degree can increase their confidence and help them become leaders in their communities. Students of all nationalities and cultural backgrounds are welcomed into virtual classrooms to start a new chapter in their lives. They build lifelong international friendships and pave the way for professional partnerships in the future.
The importance of universities
University campuses remain important hubs for the production of new knowledge through research. Universities can inspire innovation and development in industry, business, commerce. However, as demand for university places rises dramatically, online learning becomes a necessity. The combination of online and on-campus studies can provide a third option, offering a host of additional benefits to students.
The road to equitable, quality higher education available to all is long and bumpy. Governments and civic society bear the responsibility to support this ongoing effort.
Unicaf celebrates education with generous scholarships and a state-of-the-art digital platform for online learning. Unicaf proves that the precious gift of quality higher education can be enjoyed by all, especially those who need it the most.