Why Only the Lucky Few?
By Yamine Hallab, Lebanon
Are we not people of the 21st century? Then why are we tolerating the fact that in this day and age, so many children are being deprived of something so basic and incredibly essential in a person's adult life, something that could mean life or death?
I have a friend in the Becaa whose family is living off the minimum wages.. Because her family cannot afford anything better, my friend has no choice but to go to a dismally mediocre school with old, tattered, and dilapidated text books with old and outdated methods of teaching.
The school buildings are substandard, with stifling heat in the summer, and freezing cold in the winter. I find it hard to imagine how the students can possibly concentrate and work productively in such difficult conditions. Still, she is much more fortunate than many other children who, instead of being allowed [to] start and finish at least basic education, are forced to help their parents by working in the fields.
To them, present day survival is more important than dreaming and implementing plans for a better future. Those illiterate.children's education has been so neglected, they have virtually no alternative but to live a life of farm work and perpetuate the vicious cycle of poverty.
By educating a child, one not only creates a better future for that specific individual, but also creates the foundation for a better future in a country. The prosperity of a nation is directly connected to the level of education of its people. This is particularly true and obvious in the 21st century. It is impossible to afford illiteracy and substandard education in this technologically competitive and advanced global culture.
A good education should not be a privilege of the lucky few, but should be made a birthright of every child of every nation.
Excerpted from Yamine Hallab, Age 13, Lebanon , Winner, Writing Contest for International Human Rights Day 2006, Cyberschoolbus, United Nations