Ending Poverty through Education: Reflections on my time at RESULTS
Marina Takahashi and Joy Ikekhua
December 15, 2016
Exploring the Right to Education Index
By Marina Takahashi
Working at RESULTS allowed me to gain a sense of the importance of quality education to eradicate poverty. I am from Japan, and I was able to fulfill my fundamental education and am now studying at university. However, on my first year at university, I realized it was not difficult to see and feel education disparity, even in Japan, between public and private, urban and rural, and rich and poor. I have been interested in solving poverty issues since my family encountered its own financial difficulties. Therefore, I decided to intern for the Global Education team at RESULTS Educational Fund to gain skills and knowledge to further education rights and opportunities to everyone in the world.
Looking back at all of my work at RESULTS Educational Fund, I am glad that I was able to work on the Right to Education Index (RTEI), helping with analysis and reviewing the RTEI Questionnaire. Though my work was a small part of this accomplishment, it was a great pleasure to hear on my last week that all of the data from fifteen countries (Australia, Canada, Chile, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Honduras, Indonesia, Nigeria, Palestine, Philippines, South Korea, Tanzania, UK, U.S., and Zimbabwe) was finally shared with partner organizations. All of these results revealed distinct aspects of the right to education, and will support international organizations and governments in each country to take further steps in ensuring the satisfaction of the right to education. In the coming years, RTEI will be used in more countries and will impact many actors such as governments, the private sector, and NGOs working in the field.
Through analyzing the RTEI Questionnaire, I was able to gain knowledge about education policy and cultivate both quantitative and qualitative analysis skills to extend my critical thinking skills. I learned the criteria to monitor education financing in various countries, physical environments of schools, and international and domestic education laws. Additionally, I learned to reflect on data availability. It is sometimes difficult to collect relevant education data with exactly the same criteria considering the different economic levels of each country and the year the data was collected. It was interesting to learning about how RTEI treats missing data and accounts for that in its methodology.
I also supported RESULTS by creating a video of presentations at the World Bank Annual Meetings, helped complete a report investigating the International Finance Corporation’s (IFC) role in primary education, and developed informational material for distribution about RESULTS’ work in global education. These opportunities allowed me to gain an understanding of how RESULTS tackles education issues with other organizations such as Global Partnership for Education (GPE), IFC, and partner NGOs all over the world.
Working at RESULTS Educational Fund led me to learn more about my career vision to work towards solving poverty issues, fueled by passion and knowledge. During this internship, I was able to be part of an environment in which everyone was working with vulnerable populations across the world towards solving poverty issues.
Marina Takahashi is a junior at American University with the Washington Semester Program, Global Economics and Business Course. She is major in International Relations and minor in Economics at her home university, Yokohama City University in Japan. Before joining RESULTS, she interned at an Ed-Tech startup and Human Rights Now in Tokyo. She is pursuing her interests of poverty issues by joining Nepal Study Program hosted by the United Nations Forum in Japan.
Learning about Global Education Advocacy and Networks
By Joy Ikekhua
Growing up in Nigeria, I had access to the best education money could buy. In the 16 years that I lived there, it did not seem strange at all that my parents paid for private education because the public school system could not be trusted. From time to time, I would hear stories of how in public schools, teachers were on strike or classrooms had as much as 70 students that were expected to be taught by one teacher. I never gave it much thought because I was privileged enough to ignore the challenges in public education because it did not affect me nor did I know anyone affected by it.
As I have learned more about education over the past couple of years, I have realized how unjust and unequal education systems are across the world. This realization in tandem with my experience has spurred a passion within me for reforming these education systems and led me to an internship with the Global Education team at RESULTS. When I was searching for internships, I wanted a space where I would have the opportunity to learn from people who are actively working on education issues, especially in countries where development had been interrupted. Interning at RESULTS has been exactly that and more!
During this fall semester, I have had the amazing opportunity to plug into the global education network. From working on and learning about the privatization of education in sub-Saharan Africa to consolidating data from questionnaires that measured the right to education in various countries, the knowledge I have gained cannot be matched. One of my favorite memories was researching low-cost private schools and how their work in some African countries may be more harmful than helpful. Had I not had access to the critical analysis of education advocates, I would have believed the promotional materials circulated by these companies. That moment taught me the importance of data and analysis to hold organizations who tackle development issues accountable for the work they claim to do and question the sustainable impact they claim to have.
I am beyond grateful for the opportunity to intern at RESULTS and understand that for communities to permanently lift themselves out of poverty, everyone must have access to a quality education.
Joy Ikekhua is a Junior at Spelman College. There, she studies History and International Studies with the plan to work in the field of International Development after graduation.