Children revising with the help of a community tutor
Children revising with the help of a community tutor

Facts, FAQs, History, what you need to know about Education.


Pemphero from Malawi doing her homework as her mother watches over
Pemphero from Malawi doing her homework as her mother watches over


What is Education?

Education is the process where an individual acquires or imparts basic knowledge to another. It is also where a person:

  • develops skills essential to daily living,
  • learns social norms,
  • develops judgment and reasoning, and
  • learns how to discern right from wrong.

The ultimate goal of education is to help an individual navigate life and contribute to society once they become older.

There are various types of education but typically, traditional schooling dictates the way one’s education success is measured. People who attended school and attained a higher level of education are considered more employable and likely to earn more.

In developing, low-income countries, for example, there is a projected 
10 per cent increase in a person’s future income for every additional year of education.

Education helps eradicate poverty and hunger, giving people the chance at better lives. This is one of the biggest reasons why parents strive to make their kids attend school as long as possible. It is also why nations work toward promoting easier access to education for both children and adults.

What are the different types of education?
Education is typically divided into three categories: formal education, informal education, and non-formal education.

Formal education

Formal education is the type that is typically conducted in a classroom setting in an academic institution. This is where students are taught basic skills such as reading and writing, as well as more advanced academic lessons.
Also known as ‘formal learning’, it usually begins in elementary school and culminates in post-secondary education. It is provided by qualified teachers or professors and follows a curriculum.

Informal education

Informal education, on the other hand, is the type that is done outside the premises of an academic institution. Often, this is when a person learns skills or acquires knowledge from home, when visiting libraries, or browsing educational websites through a device. Learning from the elders in one’s community can also be an important form of informal education.

Such education is often not planned or deliberate, nor does it follow a regimented timetable or a specific curriculum. It is spontaneous and may also be described as a natural form of education.

Non-formal education

Non-formal education has qualities similar to both formal and informal education. It follows a timetable and is systemically implemented but not necessarily conducted within a school system. It is flexible in terms of time and curriculum and normally does not have an age limit.

Children from Jerusalem/WestBank/Gaza in class
Children from Jerusalem/WestBank/Gaza in class 


Global Recognition of Education.

International Day of Education is celebrated annually on 24TH January. It was declared so by the United Nations General Assembly on 3RD December 2018 in celebration of the role of education in peace and development alongside recognition and support of the Sustainable Development Goal 4 which aims to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.


History and Development of Education.

History of Education dates back to written records in ancient ages. In Asia, education was primarily rooted in teachings of three major philosophical, religious traditions; Hinduism (including Buddhism), Islam and Confucianism (including Neo-Confucianism). Toward the end of the 18TH Century, as education in East Asia evolved in association with the ebb and flow of Neo- Confucianism, a more drastic transformation was introduced by the British in South Asia. The British introduced modern schools, initially for the purpose of training interpreters and future government officials. This in turn weakened the ties between students and communities, thus changing the traditional goal of education in South Asia. Teaching the English subject created an additional barrier between the educated elite and the common people.In East Asia, Japan was the first country to adopt the modern educational reform.

Later, in the 19TH Century, modern education took root in most of Asia, and as time evolved, the Western education system was uniformly spread throughout.

In America, in the 17TH Century, education was not a requirement, it was only a dream for many. The main education experienced was Puritan, where parents were mainly expected to teach morals and Biblical teachings. Once the settlers population started to grow, each colony was required to have at least one school teach students academics but these schools mainly focused on educating the wealthier population. Even as education at this time was not very significant, Havard was established as the first college in 1636. A century later, the first academy for girls was established in 1787.In the 1870s, public schools were present in all states, however, they barely survived due to an economic depression that affected the support of formal education. In 1920s, they bounced back and children were able to transition from working in factories to learning in public schools. Technology started making its way into the classroom with the introduction of the calculator and computers in the 1970s. By the 1980s, computer-aided instruction was common in both K-12 and higher education. By 1990, multiple computers could be found in classrooms nationwide. Leading to the technological revolution. Since the 20TH Century, education in North, South and Central America has seen immense evolution.

In Europe, education literacy has been greatly influenced by conflict and competition among religious movements; Catholic Counter-Reformation and the Protestant Reformation. In the Middle Ages, the Roman Catholic dominated education and religion; they controlled almost all schools and universities with their doctrines. In the 1830s, better economic conditions encouraged development of more effective forms of education. From 1840 to 1880, the population in Europe rose by 33%, while the number of children attending school shot by 145%. In the 1990s, to prepare their citizens to contribute to the knowledge society, several European countries formulated an education plan. This approach expected 95% of young people to graduate from secondary school, with 50% of those students going on to university.

During the nineteenth century, European states increasingly wanted to provide a universal, free, and compulsory secular education, practiced by trained teachers in suitable buildings. The sophistication of the industrial production was a new challenge to schools in the twentieth century, and educators began to provide a secondary education for all. Globalization presented a challenge to the pedagogical thinking through the implementation of new teaching material and the internet. In the knowledge society, the schools began to compete not only at a national or regional but also at an international level.

In Africa, education can be divided into pre-colonial and post-colonial. Introduction of the formal education in Africa was done by European colonialists. African education in the pre-colonial era was in the form of apprenticeship which was informal education, whereby children and younger community members learnt from the older members of the household or community. Among the skills learnt in the pre-colonial era were; dancing, winemaking, farming, cooking, crafting, carving, building, hunting, performing rituals, hunting among others. Story telling was also a major part of this form of education. Post-Colonial education came about when European military forces, missionaries, and colonists all came ready and willing to change existing traditions to meet their own needs and ambitions. Colonial powers such as Spain, Portugal, Belgium and France colonized the continent without putting in a system of education. Colonial powers were unwilling to offer education to those they colonized unless it benefited them. Either colonial powers did not view investing in African education as a practical use of their revenue or they refrained from educating Africans in order to avoid any uprisings. The British Education Committee of the Privy Council advocated for vocational education and training rather than one focused on academia. This vocational training however neglected professions such as engineering, technology, or similar subjects. Instead, the vocational training had a dominant racial overtone that stressed African training for skills fitting with their assumed social and mental inadequacy.In the 1950s and 1990s, African countries finally regained their independence. With this recovered freedom, they began to rebuild their traditional forms of education. What had inevitably evolved, however, was a hybrid of the two models. The 1960s were known as the First Development Decade by the UN. Policymakers prioritized secondary and tertiary education before also setting their sights for universal primary education around 1980. This set the precedent for educational planning.

Children in Kenyan community gather to read a book
Children in Kenyan community gather to read a book


Global Education Statistics.

According to a research conducted by World Population Review in 2022, the global literacy for all males and females at least 15 years old is 86.3%. Males aged 15 and over have a literacy rate of 90%, while females’ literacy rate is at 82.7%. Finland was recorded to have the highest literacy rate at 100% while Niger had the lowest at 19.10% of its entire population.

As of March 2022, since the onset of the COVID-19, 23 countries; home to over 405 million school children have yet to fully open schools, with many children still at risk of dropping out.

Today, 258 million children and youth still do not attend school; 617 million children and adolescents cannot read and do basic math; less than 40% of girls in Sub-Saharan Africa complete lower secondary school and 4 million children and youth refugees are out of school.

Education Policy.

Article 26 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that :

  • Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.
  • Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.
  • Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.

Why is education important?
There are plenty of reasons why education is important. Generally speaking, they all tie closely to a person’s goals in life and to their future well-being. Below are some of the other most common reasons education is so important:

  • Education helps a person hone their communication skills by learning how to read, write, speak and listen.
  • Education develops critical thinking. This is vital in teaching a person how to use logic when making decisions and interacting with people (e.g., boosting creativity, enhancing time management).
  • Education helps an individual meet basic job qualifications and makes them more likely to secure better jobs.
  • Education promotes gender equality and helps empower girls and women. A World Bank report found that an extra year of schooling for girls reduces teen pregnancy rates by six per cent and gave women more control over how many children they have.
  • Education reduces child mortality. According to UNESCO, a child born to a mother who can read is 50 per cent more likely to survive past the age of five.

What are the benefits of education?
If all students in low-income countries acquired basic reading skills before leaving school, entire societies could change dramatically. According to UNESCO, 171 million people could be lifted out of poverty. But education isn’t just about living above the poverty line. It’s about quality of life, choices at work, and many other benefits, as listed below.

Developing problem-solving skills
The schooling system teaches a person how to make their own decisions by developing critical and logical thinking skills. This prepares children for adulthood when both big and small decisions become a constant part of their daily lives.

For example: coming up with solutions to challenges in the community or planning how to provide for a family.

Self-reliance and empowerment
Knowing how to read, write and do arithmetic is empowering. When a person can read, they can access endless learning and information. When they can calculate expenses and make a budget, they can start a small business. Paired with the ability to form opinions, literacy makes a person become more self-reliant, and gives them confidence.

Promoting equality among individuals
In an ideal world, there is no room for discrimination due to race, gender, religion, social class, or level of literacy. This is where the value of education comes to play. Through education, one can develop strong, well-considered opinions – and learn to respect the views of others. Many experts agree that education is a significant 
contributor to peace in societies.

Stability and financial security
A person’s income is often linked to his or her educational attainment. Around the world, there are more employment opportunities for those who complete high school, earn a degree, diploma or certificate, or go on to post-graduate studies. These can also mean higher salaries.

Economic growth (as a nation)
An educated population is important in building a nation’s economy. According to studies, countries with the 
highest literacy rates are more likely to make progress in human and economic development. National economic growth begins with individual economic growth, which is often linked back to education. A separate report also found that individuals with lower literacy skills are more likely to be unemployed.

Giving back to the community
Once children are educated, they have more ways to make a difference in their communities. Many of the children we serve at World Vision have dreams of making a difference as teachers, doctors, or as part of the government.


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