Education for All, Healthcare for All

Yes, these are nice slogans, but these are no different from "Make America Great Again" if these are not backed by practical considerations. Education for all, as monitored by UNESCO, is hinged on several measurable goals: enrollment in preschool, enrollment in primary education, enrollment in lower secondary education, adult literacy, gender parity, and quality of education. And with these measures, only a third of countries around the world have met these goals.

Above copied from UNESCO

These are all goals, but none of these measures really tell us how we are going to meet these goals. For "education for all" to become a reality, we obviously need resources. Saying that we are providing access to all must be accompanied by actually having the supply to meet the demand. And in this regard, UNESCO does recognize a huge stumbling block:

Teachers are one of the most influential and powerful forces for equity, access and quality in education and key to sustainable global development. However, their training, recruitment, retention, status and working conditions remain preoccupying.

One cannot promise "education for all" if one cannot actually deliver it. This is the reality. And a similar scenario exists in healthcare. With competition and efficiency, hospitals are kept lean. There is no room for excess capacity or hospital beds left idle. Every practitioner has to be providing service one hundred percent of the time. Limiting or controlling supply so that it is never in excess is good for business. The problem with this thinking: It is completely opposite to "healthcare for all", which requires ample supply so that people can actually receive the care when they need it.

It is in the interest of any society to have its members all educated and healthy. These should always be regarded as beyond individual interests. Epidemics and contagious diseases show us clearly that without healthcare for all, we are all at risk. And when we do not prepare all of our children for the future, we will pay a hefty price later.

Both education for all and healthcare for all require resources. These slogans are empty if these do not come with addressing resources first. We need to build hospitals. We need to build schools. We need more doctors. We need more teachers. These steps need to be taken and no amount of legislation or policies will bring us closer to these goals without concrete actions toward creating an infrastructure that can in fact provide education for all and healthcare for all. Anything less is just a slogan.


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