Do you know who Nelson Mandela is? He is a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary and was the first black head of the state in South Africa after a long time it had been led by a white person. Have you ever heard one of his motivational words? None of you? Okay, so there is a quote from Nelson Mandela that says “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”.
Look at our great big world. There are actually various aspects that contribute to make our world a better place. Social, politics, and economy are to name some. However, my concern is about education. How important is education until Nelson Mandela says so?
UNESCO, one of the United Nations’ organisations in 1948 proclaimed “Everyone has the right to education”. It means that education is the fundamental humans right. It should be guaranteed that every individual, no matter where they live, they should have education – good, decent, and proper education.
But, it raises me into a big question. Is it true that everyone has the right to education? There would be no big concern if we live in a country which is not in crisis, not in a war zone, and no discriminations on getting the right to education.
In some countries, girls are marginalised and forbidden to attend school like the case of Malala where this Pakistani girl fought for her right to education, was shot by the Taliban and survived from her critical condition. This is what I call the power of education. How can we make our world into a better place if we don’t have the knowledge and skills to change it? Malala fought for her right because she knew how important education was for her future.
This is why challenges in the education itself need to be overcome. First of all, by increasing the individual’s awareness and erase dogmas that prevent marginalised people, like women, the minorities, and the poor, to get education. For example, education is forbidden for girls because girls live in this world with one and only purpose that is to become a housewife and serve their husband wishes.
Secondly, the government has to improve the infrastructure, especially in developing countries because if those people realize the importance of education and become passionate to learn, but the accesses to schools are hard because of costly and inadequate transportations and worn-out bridges and roads; they might lose their will and desire to pursue education.
Last but not least is increasing the supervision on the education by the government. Even though it is already done according to the procedure, especially in developing countries, government still have to check whether the distributions of books and other school facilities in each school is the same so every student can get equal education. Meanwhile, in developed countries, it’s not about the equalisation, but it’s the less supervision on the attitude and psychology of students where many students have inappropriate behaviour like bullying and have poor mental strength where they get short thoughts and easily commit suicide when they can’t bear their studies. The good quality of education isn’t just about the facilities, but also the students’ behaviour.
Education is one of the keys to improve people’s quality life, not only financially, but also socially and healthily. I am standing here because of education. I am fortunate and privileged to have a good quality of education in Indonesia. I strongly believe that education is the gate for our world to a better future.
Salsabila Afra Ramadhani Cahya
Faculty of Law, Universitas Gadjah Mada