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To me, one of the most important aspects of parenting is education. As a parent, human rights lawyer, and international development specialist, I am a firm believer in the life-saving power of education. The value of education cannot be underestimated. The Global Partnership for Education underlines that "education is more than reading, writing, and arithmetic. It is one of the most important investments a country can make in its people and its future... The impact of investment in education is profound: education results in raising income, improving health, promoting gender equality, mitigating climate change, and reducing poverty." In addition, a recent report commissioned by UNICEF provides evidence that "education can be a catalyst for peace" and highlights the need for education sectors to adopt a peacebuilding perspective.
"Education also saves millions of lives each year," says Christine E. Horansky, education communications specialist for the World Bank. Studies indicate, for example, that HIV infection rates drop by 50% among children who complete their primary education, and that every 10% point increase in girls' secondary enrollment in low income countries can save approximately 350,000 children's lives and reduce maternal mortality by 15,000 every year. These facts are remarkable and eye-opening. No wonder that achieving universal primary education is one of the eight UN Millennium Development Goals (MDG). Regretfully, the pace of progress is deemed insufficient to ensure that all girls and boys complete a full course of primary schooling by 2015, the MDG target date.
Nelson Mandela once said, "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Kofi Annan, the former Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN) powerfully stated, "Education is a human right with immense power to transform. On its foundation rest the cornerstones of freedom, democracy and sustainable human development." I wholeheartedly agree. I also believe that each child has the right to rest, play, and participate in recreational activities as well as in cultural and artistic life. All these rights are guaranteed under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which has been ratified or acceded to by all countries around the world with the exception of Somalia and the US.
I think education should be as enjoyable as possible and I am a strong believer in the learn through play philosophy, particularly in relation to early childhood development. My children's preschool sums this concept up really well: "play is the most appropriate way for a young child to learn about the world. It is the natural way for children to try out ideas, to exercise their imaginations, to practice grown-up behavior, and to develop a sense of control of their environment."
Thank you for visiting Smile Play Learn. I hope you will find the ideas and resources presented here useful. Please feel free to e-mail us or leave a comment on our Facebook page. We would love to hear your input and suggestions.