Tro-tros, tuk-tuks and 4-wheel drives
There are many ways to get to school – walk, bike, car, bus, tro-tro, on the back of a motorbike, in a tuk-tuk, being pushed in a wheelchair, on crutches, in a parent’s four-wheel drive.
According to UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation), 244 million children aged between six and 18 are not in school. The Salvation Army International Schools and Education has a long history of engagement with education and currently works with more than half a million children in more than 2500 schools, supported by 20,000 teachers in 45 countries.
For The Salvation Army, the essential element is being able to attend school and receive a high-quality education, regardless of how one ‘travels’ there. The walk to school is a start and symbolises the different paths through education that children and youth take as they prepare for life’s journey.
Breaking down barriers
The Salvation Army is about removing barriers to education for the most vulnerable, and then providing education that is high quality and enables children to either move confidently to the next stage of education or feel empowered enough to look for employment with the necessary skills, social understanding and mental strength required in an increasingly globalised world.
We work with children in rural-remote or urban-complex communities who might not otherwise be able to access a quality education system to ensure they are able to do so.
We believe that all children should have access to education, and we have a clear focus on enabling those with special needs – complex disabilities, learning needs, sight issues or hearing loss – to be empowered to go to school. In several areas, therefore, we have schools that provide specialist education and living support so that pupils can achieve independence and go on to play a fulfilling role in their community when they leave school.
Girls staying in education
We also believe that we should do everything we can to support girls to stay in school as long as possible. There is plenty of evidence that says that every year spent in school for girls in developing contexts reduces their chance of early marriage, gives them a better opportunity to have healthy babies that survive childhood, and greatly reduces the risk of them being trafficked and exploited in the workplace or home environment.
This means we need to ensure proper sanitation facilities that make it easier for girls to attend school, that schools need an ethos that encourages and values girls, and that girls are aware of their opportunities for further study and career development.
Adding value to communities
A key objective is lessening the learning gap between Salvation Army schools and better-resourced schools within a country, city or community.
The Salvation Army faces a unique challenge in that it is called to serve people in complex communities who are often economically marginalised and geographically remote. The Salvation Army worldwide goes where others do not go, and this is also true of our education programs.
To read more about Salvation Army schools and students, click here.
View The Salvation Army schools and education exhibition at IHQ’s Gallery 101, which explores The Salvation Army’s work in education around the world.