There are many reasons why the Roger Federer Foundation believes that a good education is one of the most powerful theories of change.
Education is a human right:
Education is a fundamental human right and the forth sustainable developement goal of the UN. Every human being has the right to inclusive and quality education in order to make the most of his or her potential. Furthermore, both the international community and researchers agree that many other human rights can only be realised and respected if a sufficient standard of education is guaranteed.
Education reduces poverty:
Education is one of the decisive levers which enable people to escape existing poverty, or a poverty trap spanning generations. It is only through education that people gain options, become innovators and are able to take their lives in their own hands. Education increases the chance of obtaining a permanent job and regular income. Education leads to better living standards, to people being capable of making long-term plans and also to accepting personal responsibility. UNESCO studies show that worldwide poverty could be reduced by 12% if all children in developing countries left school with just basic reading and writing skills.
Education improves health:
Education is one of the most effective and sustainable tools for promoting public health. Educated people are better informed about diseases, hygiene and nutrition. They recognise the symptoms of possible life-threatening diseases earlier on and are shown to seek medical treatment more often. Preventative health initiatives can only work if people have at least a minimum level of education. UNESCO studies have calculated that if all women completed primary education, 66% fewer mothers would die in childbirth and the mortality rate of children under five years of age would fall by 15%.
Education enhances social responsibility:
Education is a fundamental pre-requisite for a functioning democracy. It promotes tolerance, mutual understanding and long-term strategic thinking. Similarly, behaviour which endangers the environment can only be counteracted by education. Women and other minorities facing discrimination also require well educated champions to safeguard their rights. In this context, UNESCO reports the following example: if all girls living in sub-Saharan Africa completed primary education, 14% less of them would be married by the age of 15. If they all completed secondary education, the number of teenage marriages would be reduced by as much as 64%.
Education is in crisis:
In Africa, there are two main problems affecting education. On the one hand, there are still not enough children in some countries with access to primary education. On the other, the majority of the education offered is of insufficient quality. In relation to the first point, countries in southern Africa have made up much ground over the last years and have a school enrolment quota equating to the global average. Far too often however, schooling ends prematurely. Schools lose - on average - 40% of their pupils before the fourth year. Minimum learning objectives are far from being achieved due amongst other things to the massive shortage of teachers. According to UNESCO studies, 58% more trained teachers are required. The reasons for the lack of adequate education on the African continent are manifold and best illustrated in the annual report of UNO’s "Education For All" initiative. To improve the quality of education, a package of measures is required. These measures are promoted by the Roger Federer Foundation in all of its programmes.
Further information can be obtained from the UNESCO report EFA 2014, as referred to above.