Michelle Obama turns focus to classroom

MAST Academy is a magnet school where students exercise their right of to choose by waking up before their parents to take an hour and a half bus ride to get to school on time in order to get the best education possible.

But around the world millions of children do not have the choice to the simplest education, and girls are the first to be excluded. Michelle Obama and the Obama administration have launched the “Let Girls Learn” campaign whose purpose is to ensure that all girls have access to education.

Like a true leader, the first lady kicked off the campaign with a powerful and meaningful speech to young girls at the historic Apollo Theater, on September 29, in New York City.

For Obama this is personal.

“When I think about those 62 million girls that aren’t in school, I think about myself. I think about my daughters,” Obama said in an interview for The Root.

The possibility that girls like the first daughters are struggling to learn, is high, as 62 million girls having trouble attaning a basic education. In developing countries there are many issues that impede the learning progress of the children.

With fewer schools, packed classrooms, limited resources, and a general lack of teachers, it is apparent that many children are deprived of a basic education. In fact, UNESCO’s Institute of Statistics says that in 75 percent of countries only a third of teachers are trained and that 27 million more teachers will be needed by 2030.

The “Let Girls Learn” campaign has partnered with USAID, a government agency that works to end global poverty and encourage democratic societies, in order to achieve its goal of bringing education to impoverished girls around the world.

So far, USAID has invested around one billion dollars annually in education programs, while providing over 35 million textbooks and other teaching materials in a single year. Three hundred thousand teachers have been trained by USAID worldwide, and support education programs in 18 different countries.

Training and motivating more teachers is critical to better educational outcomes for children. Half of the 62 million girls around the world who are not in school are adolescents and lack education which makes them more susceptible to forced marriages, reduced economic opportunities, violence, and HIV/AIDS.

The spread of violent conflict has reduced the opportunity for children to go to school, yet an education is an essential ingredient to ensuring future peace and stability.

Not only does a good education mean more money, it also gives women the option to raise a healthy and educated family.

The more grades/levels completed in school leads to being married later, bearing a child later, and lower birth rates in general, according to the “Let Girls Learn” website.

The circumstances of a girl’s birth or the customs of her community can lock her out of the opportunities to make a difference and change the world. The “Let Girls Learn” campaign is taking the first step in making a difference in the lives of tens of millions of young women around the world.