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The Gift of a Snow Day

McKenzie Swain

Growing up in the Midwest meant hoping for snow days throughout the entirety of winter. There were even rituals we would do the night before a big snow storm- we would throw ice cubes down the toilet, wear pajamas inside out and even do a “snow dance” before bed, these were all things that would supposedly increase the chance of getting the day off of school. Looking forward to a day off for snow shows how the access to basic education is something easily taken granted in the United States. We all know that education is essential but just how critical is it?

An Education on Education:

The benefits of an education are monumental, learning eradicates poverty, breaks cycles of violence and saves lives. When you educate mothers and women there is 66 percent decrease in the amount of maternal deaths during childbirth. This is because educated mothers are more likely to adapt necessary hygiene routines and to have fewer children. Just in India and Nigeria alone, if all women and girls completed secondary schooling, 1.35 million children’s lives would have been saved. Another prominent aspect of education is that it builds a more peaceful society in both preventive and post-conflict measures. The more knowledgeable you are on the negative aspects of war, the less likely you are to support creating and sustaining one. Education can save millions of lives and make the world a better place, so what's stopping people from building schools and educating the world?

Is an educated, peaceful world possible?

Multiple factors play into the lack of access to education- poverty, hunger, cultural and monetary. Funding allocation and investment are the biggest obstacles that prevent the development of a proper education system and construction of schools in different parts of the world. Even when there are existing schools, mandatory fees leave out children in poverty, those who would most benefit from schooling. In many areas small children have to walk miles to school by themselves, which is many times dangerous and unfeasible for children. Additionally, hunger is a hinderance on education, you can’t expect going to school to be a priority for a child when they’ve gone days without eating.  Even if they are able to make it to school, many children are excluded because of their gender- two thirds of the illiterate population around the world are female.

What's Being Done:

Having access to an education is basic human right. Many organizations agree and here are some amazing things being done to make schooling more accessible. UNICEF has partnered up with The Global Partnership for Education and Save the Children to create initiatives like the Inter-Agency Standing Committee Cluster for Education in Emergencies and the Global Education First Initiative. These initiatives do things like generate funding, advocate for education equality and rebuild education systems.

Hopefully one day all children across the world grow so accustomed to school that they all come up with little rituals to try and get things like snow days and random days off. Maybe one day all kids will wear their pajamas inside out and do a little dance before bed.  

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