There are many challenges to providing high-quality education to children around the world. Poverty, conflict, inequalities, and other impediments can mean millions of kids don’t get a fair shot at entering and succeeding in school.

Read More: 9 Facts to Know About Education Around the World

Thankfully, some of the most creative people around the world are putting their minds to the task of overcoming these problems.

All around the world, educators are finding innovative ways to ensure children have access to the education on which bright futures are built.
Global Citizen campaigns on the United Nations’ Global Goals for Sustainable Development, and providing access to quality education is goal number four. You can take action on this issue here.

Take Action: 263 Million Children Need Help Getting in the Classroom

Check out six of the most creative approaches to education happening all over the planet below.

1/ Office of African-American Male Achievement - Oakland, CA

In the Oakland Unified School District, African-American males face a series of unique challenges to their education. They are at the highest risk of dropping out of high school, represent the highest number of chronic absences, and are disproportionately susceptible to violence, among other factors.

All of these facts led to the creation of the Office of African American Male Achievement (OAAMA) in 2010, an administrative body dedicated to improving academic and life outcomes for African-American youth in Oakland. This program was the first of its kind in the US, despite the fact that young black men face similar educational challenges around the country.

This revolutionary program was developed to meet the specific needs of African-American males by partnering with community leaders, parents, district staff, and educators. OAAMA works with youth during after school classes and programs aimed at empowering their academic achievement, while working at the institutional level to research and reform policies that benefit Oakland’s most vulnerable subgroup.

2/ eLearning - Sudan, Africa

“eLearning,” an innovative program developed by education NGO War Child Holland seeks to bring educational opportunities to children whose schooling has been disrupted by violent conflict. Piloted in Sudan, the program is being developed to scale up to other violence-stricken regions of the world, where it is estimated that over 30 million children are denied schooling due to conflict.

eLeaning Sudan is all about teaching children basic mathematics to students in their own villages. When conflict occurs, children may be denied the opportunity to travel outside their communities for schooling- this program allows kids to continue learning even when their are no teachers through the use of specially designed education programs to be learned via tablet devices.

Making education fun, and more importantly accessible, can make a huge difference when children live in areas lacking basic institutional structures due to conflict. In creating educational pathways that can be deployed without the need for these structures, eLearning could be an important first step in patching access to education for victims of conflict worldwide.

3/ Lively Minds’ Play Schemes - Ghana, Africa

Educational charity Lively Minds developed this creative program to help pre-school aged youth in Ghana develop early interest in education through the use of games called Play Schemes. Without even knowing that they are learning, young children play games that teach them fundamental skills necessary to entering into formal education systems.

Serving up to 160 children per week, Play Schemes works by dividing participants into cooperative groups as they rotate through a series of challenges designed to improve the intellectual, language, and socio-emotional skills necessary for school-readiness.

Play Schemes also incorporates lessons of health and hygiene into their curriculum for children, with special lessons delivered to mothers as well. Lively Mind’s is easy to set up, and relies on locally made resources to ensure their program can be replicated in almost any area.

4/ Literacy Education and Math Labs - Colombia, Panama, Dominican Republic

The ability to read and write is absolutely essential to securing high-quality education no matter where you live. The Literacy Education and Math Labs (LEMA) system, developed by non-profit Literacy4All, was designed to be a replicable program pushing children to develop reading, writing, and math skills all over the world.

Over one in four adults around the world cannot read, and in low-income countries, it is estimated that over 171 million people could be lifted out of poverty with only this basic skill, according to Literacy4All’s website. Learning these skills begins in childhood, and through programs like LEMA it is possible to break the global poverty cycle through education.

“Learning Coaches” are recruited and trained to run these fun programs where students learn by playing educational games. The system has a proven track record of improving reading, math, and writing schools through the use of their board-game learning approach.

5/ More Than Money - Nigeria, Africa

Created by Junior Achievement Nigeria back in 1999, this urban education program seeks to teach children in fourth, fifth, and sixth grade all about responsible money management. Focusing on issues like saving money, opening a bank account, and even some fundamentals of business management, this program seeks to bridge the gap between the classroom and the workplace.

Work-readiness is an important educational outcome in Nigeria, and as such this program is heavily focused on getting students to think about what it takes to operate a business. The program’s curriculum moves from basic financial literacy, to simple business economics, then eventually covers more nuanced topics like business ethics.

What’s really cool about this program is that its success led to the eventual development of an app, built to educate anyone who is interested in the same messages, regardless of where they are in the world.

6/ Sra Prou Vocational School - Sra Prou Village, Cambodia

This educational project is innovative in that the creation of an educational building became a part of the education itself. The school, developed by Finnish architectural firm Architects Rudanko + Kankkunen in 2011, was crafted using local techniques and materials by villagers. The idea was that in creating the building, many of these workers would develop the skills needed to engage in other construction projects down the line.

In helping to build the vocational center, which now doubles as a general meeting spot and place of democratic decision making for villagers, those engaged in the project equipped themselves with sharable knowledge that they could then teach to others in the new building.

The project cleverly brought together design, community building, and natural resource management to create a cycle of education that will provide job training for generations to come.


Defeat Poverty

These 6 Education Programs Are Changing How People Learn Around the World

By Andrew McMaster