The Deficit of School Supplies and Materials in Developing Countries
By: Diandra Ross, Associate, Research & Development
Like with any occupation, teachers need the right tools to get the job done. They require the proper supplies for the classroom and their students to create an adequate teaching environment. Chalk and chalkboards, pencils and paper, chairs, desks, workbooks are all vital materials needed to provide an optimal learning experience. Unfortunately, educators in most countries around the world lack the proper resources.
The Issue at Hand
Students and teachers in developing countries suffer the most from a lack of supplies and materials in the classroom. Governments simply do not have the money to supply schools with the proper materials that they need. Even if a country does have the means to provide classrooms with the proper supplies, geographical barriers in some parts of the world make the delivery of these materials difficult or, in some cases, impossible. Parents often lack the financial ability to pay for everything required to send their child to school. In addition to buying school supplies, parents are also expected to pay the school fee, buy a uniform, and pay for lunch. Even though they cannot afford to, teachers are often tasked with providing supplies for both the classroom and the students themselves.
It is not uncommon for multiple children to share materials. Supplies like pencils, chalk and slates are often divided among groups of children. In Tanzania, only 3.5% of all sixth-grade students had sole use of a reading textbook. Sitting on the floor is also a common practice in many classrooms, as there is typically a lack of chairs and desks for students to use.
Why Is a Lack of School Supplies are a Problem?
Simply put, less school supplies means less children learning. Learning materials are an absolute necessity when it comes to adequately educating young children, especially when teaching them foundational skills like reading and basic arithmetic. A lack of learning materials in the classroom can also deter parents from sending their children to school. Some parents will observe the subpar learning conditions within a school and believe that their children would be of more use working at home. Sometimes parents do want to send their children to school, but because they cannot afford to buy the proper school supplies, their child is turned away for being “unprepared.”
Adequate school materials are proven to be integral to the quality of a classroom curriculum and is more cost-effective than reducing individual class sizes. School supplies help students engage with their assignments more effectively, allowing hands-on skills to provide a better learning experience. Students having access to supplies also makes them feel more prepared, which provides children with focus and a sense of enthusiasm for learning. Proper learning materials are also vital to teaching students about certain topics. Typical classroom subjects like math, reading and writing can largely be taught using more basic materials. However, teaching issues regarding hygiene, nutrition, and HIV/AIDS prevention require a set curriculum and specific reading materials.
How to Help
Historically, external spending has been a huge help in filling the current gaps in funding for education. Private organizations are known for stepping in and helping provide additional resources and supplies to schools who need them. Fortitude Global Foundation plans on doing just that. We recognize that providing schools with the supplies and materials is one of the most important factors of providing a quality education to young students. We will take the proper steps needed to provide supplies to communities in need around the world. Malcolm X once said, “Education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today.” We need to make sure our children are prepared.