In September 2015, the world’s nations adopted a set of “sustainable development goals” to end poverty, protect the planet, and promote the well-being of everyone. Goal 4 is to provide quality education and promote lifelong learning, and governments are called on to “ensure that all girls and boys have access to quality early childhood development, care, and pre-primary education…” Uganda’s Early Childhood Development Policy of 2007 states, “learning begins at birth and that whatever experiences a child goes through during these formative years will impact on a child’s learning in later years positively or negatively.” 
Early childhood education is important for many reasons, including its impact on children’s ability to learn. The human brain develops rapidly in the first few years of a child’s life, but the pace of development slows as a child ages. That early brain development lays the foundation for future learning. UNICEF’s The State of the World’s Children 2016 report states: Continue reading “Transforming Children’s Chances through Pre-Primary Education”
“It’s going to be hell,” she declared. It was the first day of classes of the winter semester of 2012, and her foreboding statement expressed her expectations of the three months ahead. She was a St. Thomas University student, probably barely recovered from the demands of exams and multiple paper deadlines all coinciding in one or two horrific weeks prior to Christmas break. She was definitely not looking forward to re-living it. I could relate.
My university education was gruelling. It took a toll on me physically as way too many hours hunched in front of a computer screen aggravated my osteoarthritis and caused my neck to burn with pain. The hunching has also led to a weakening of my pectoral muscles and consequent overcompensation by the muscle attached to my shoulder blade, cramping it and necessitating frequent dates with microwaveable hot packs. I developed stress-induced eczema which caused rashes for the five years of my undergraduate and graduate degrees. (I was a sight to behold, at times!) Then there was the extinction of my social life, family time, and even miniscule moments of relaxation. It was enough to have made me declare in the final year of my undergraduate degree, “University is inhumane.”
I never expected to feel that way.
Continue reading “Post-Secondary Education: Punishment or Prize?”