International (MNN) – Recently the UN released a statistic that six out of ten children in the world aren’t meeting levels of proficiency in learning. The details of this statistic were recently outlined by BBC News.
Learning Across the Globe
“In the economically disadvantaged parts of the world, there is an absolute crisis in education…we really do have a crisis on our hands, a global crisis. And it’s the responsibility of the Church,” Teach Beyond International’s George Durance explains.
“We think this is a Church-based issue and it gives us a wonderful opportunity to bring a Biblical worldview into countries that are still in their formative stage. So, we see it as a tragic opportunity really.”
And once you see a tragic opportunity, how can you not choose to be a part of the solution? However, this isn’t a problem that’s suddenly being realized. Durance shares that Teach Beyond sees colleagues across the globe already working on solutions. And, Durance says it’s their privilege to come alongside them.
“The local people are keenly aware of what’s going on. I think we have to get over our patronizing attitude and realize that the local people are appalled at that issue there and many of our church leaders are,” Durance says.
“They are doing their very best to address the issue and this is where those in the international community, the global Church, can come alongside and really give them a boost.”
More Than Resources
But the need for resources for education is only a portion of the problem. The learning gap has to be approached with a holistic solution. One of the problems is poverty. And poverty, as Durance puts it, creates a poor learning environment.
“We’ve also got, you know huge issues related to students coming into the classroom completely ill-prepared to learn. There’s malnutrition and all the associated problems that you have with malnutrition. The impact that has on a person physically and mentally. They come from homes and communities that don’t value education,” Durance explains.
Because of this, teachers aren’t always paid and occasionally fail to come to work. The problems facing education globally are a tangled web that is not solvable by money alone. And while some may question if there’s a connection between education and a spiritual faith, Durance says they’re actually intertwined.
“For us, it’s a very integral thing and it’s very spiritual to be caring for the social and the material needs that the children have.
“There is a sense in which I think one would say it’s not primarily a spiritual issue in the sense that there’s some biblical error or truth that is in error here or missing. It’s rather that we need to see the biblical Christian worldview permeating the educational endeavor that’s taking place.”
A Biblical Response
In other words, we can’t assume that if people would just follow the Bible’s teachings, it would fix the problem. Durance believes there’s a bit more to being a part of the solution to this education problem while sharing Jesus.
“It’s about the way in which a child comes into a classroom and sees the care and love, the prayer, the understanding that the world around them is orderly and God is sovereign.
“He’s created them, they’re special, all these things are truths that are in the atmosphere that’s breathed in a Christian school environment.”
And just as the education problems needs a holistic fix, it would seem that sharing the Gospel’s truths with kids and families also needs a holistic approach. They need to experience Christ’s love in the classroom, not just Bible teachings. In other words, these people need to see the Bible’s truths lived out by Christians in the classroom.
So, how can we help?
Well, start by praying. Ask God to raise up more holistic Christian educators who have compassionate hearts for the world’s most needy. Ask God if he wants you to be part of the solution, too. Pray for the families who’ve relocated because of a crisis, for God to meet their needs and help them to adapt.
Durance also says there’s room for hundreds to go abroad. “We have many other organizations that are also seeking to do this. It’s not about Teach Beyond, it’s not our corner or anything like that.
“But there is a unique open door for us now to help the Church in the less privileged areas of the world address this problem; to work through the Church there because the Church gets it. They are in position and in this way we can integrate the educational revolution that we’re calling for, into the whole Church growth movement that exists in these countries.”
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