By Bojana Petkovic
Education is one of the most important aspects of life. It opens our eyes to new knowledge, develops our minds, and upgrades our skills. With education, we not only learn about the world around us but also about ourselves and what we can achieve. It’s natural to think that everyone gets an education; after all, it’s a human right. But is this really true?
Children worldwide are still missing their chances of getting educated. Marginalism and poverty, the financial deficit of developing countries, and gender inequality are just some of the reasons more than 72 million children miss important educational opportunities.
When it comes to the US, the situation is a bit different. However, issues such as poor school safety, student poverty, bullying, and closed schools may force students and their parents to turn away from public schools and try homeschooling—which has its benefits.
Homeschooling for K–12
One would think homeschooling is among the best ways to make education more accessible for the youngest minds. This way, the parent has better control over what the child learns and can feed the need for knowledge.
Homeschooling is especially handy when it comes to gifted children and those who are super motivated to learn. If parents have enough drive, they can keep track of the areas where their child has weak performance and tackle them—unlike a public school setting, where the child may not receive enough attention.
Home education is usually provided by a parent, tutor, or online teacher, and price-wise, it’s somewhere between public and private schools.
Access for Disabled Students
All educational institutions should work on improving their physical setting when it comes to disabled students.
Hallways, doors, and desks must be set in a way to accommodate assistive devices. Adding proper lighting, lifts, and ramps, and other additions can significantly help children with disabilities. Toilets must be accessible to all students. Background noise should be minimized.
Schools also must improve the way information is transferred by providing learning materials in Braille, audio formats, and even sign language.
Assistive technology for students with disabilities is a must, such as the following:
Children with disabilities must be included in classrooms, along with their peers, and inclusion has to be maximized. All children have the right to attend well-designed, safe schools.
College Accessibility for Low-income Students
The biggest challenge with college is the price. Low-income students attend college with an instant disadvantage, starting with the college application process. For example, low-income students can order four SAT score reports for free, but only if they know where they’ll send them at the time of registration. This limits the number of colleges they can apply to.
So what can be done to help low-income students? Allowing them to visit the colleges they want to apply for before the application process can help them make a better decision. If this isn’t plausible, institutions should consider virtual tours.
More scholarships and grants for low-income students are needed in higher education. Students should evaluate different options and their eligibility before applying.
Colleges and universities that offer online educational programs are usually cheaper than traditional classes. Low-income students can consider attending online courses, but they should still research the specific online college they plan to attend.
Education is the foundation for the future of all children. As such, it should be accessible to everyone, no matter the country of residence, disability, or income status. There’s a lot to be done, but it’s not impossible to provide equal educational opportunities for all.