This post has been written by Lucía Rodríguez, leader of the GIAN for the Right to Quality Education team.
“… …But it is time the world thinks bigger…. Then, in this 21st century, we must be able to give every child quality education. Let us bring equality, justice and peace for all. Not just the politicians and the world leaders, we all need to contribute. Me. You. We. It is our duty. We have to work…and not wait”
Malala Yousafzai, Peace Nobel Price 2014
Despite all the efforts made by governments, NGOs, private institutions and civil society in general during the latest years, deficiencies in education subject hits us in the eye as soon as we rise our sight above the walls of the schools and universities we attend: according to UNESCO, still today there are 770 million human beings, mostly women, who are kept deprived of the basic entrance door to knowledge that is literacy skills; nowadays more than 250 million of minors do not attend to school in many different parts of the world.
If we move to focus from coverage to quality, deficiencies become more outrageous: 25% of schooling population in poor countries are not able to read one complete sentence and there are still 15% of the boys and girls living in Latin America who drop out of primary education early because it does not adjust to their circumstances.
25 years have gone through since, in Jomtiem, UNESCO took a lap in a great initiative, the Global Campaign for Education, and it set the roadmap of a dream that cannot be deferred any longer and that we still pursue. Later, some other international agreements were signed to deepen the acquired commitments: the Dakar Action Framework, in 2000 and the Millennium Development Goals. After twenty five years, although the technological appearance of our world has changed, there are still life conditions of a great part of the humanity that have been kept the same way. THE RIGHT TO A QUALITY EDUCATION, that life-long lasting basic human right, essential condition to exercise any other, social or collective civil right, still remains an entelechy for millions of persons. It would be unfair not highlighting the progresses that have been made, but we must acknowledge them slow and insufficient.
In an interdependent world to an unlikely extent, the disclosed chances for transformation seem unsuspected. Without a doubt, globalization has brought with it a serial of setbacks, for the weaker especially, increasing the gap between the rich and poor restless, but it is not less true that it opens a wide range of doors that we have not even started to explore. Among these, the possibilities to CONNECT, to NETWORK are on date in order to generate simultaneous and effective transformations all around the planet.
The 35th General Congregation this takes on this formidable challenge and it invites us all, laic and religious people, to join our efforts to advocacy purposes and put them to work for the defense and promotion of those who are in greater vulnerable situations.
The Society of Jesus has been an educational entity right from its beginnings. Today, it responds to 3 million people in 70 countries. As great these numbers might seem, they are a minority in the rough outlook of the current world. Our fidelity to the mission invites us to go beyond our schools and students, committing ourselves with the millions of excluded persons who are deprived from their right to a quality education.
EDUJESUIT is an initiative born with humbleness but also with ambition and that wants to contribute to this purpose. It aims to become the meeting point of people and organizations compromised to the Right to Quality Education: a place to share information, encourage collective reflection and generate collective actions to transform small realities that, altogether, will set up more significant changes. Together, stick by stick, brick by brick, we aspire to contribute to the fairest and most necessary challenge of our time: a world where no human being is deprived from receiving an education based on their needs and expectations, regardless of their age or condition.