“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest”

By Harun Momanyi. Harun is studying for a BSc in Tourism Management at Kenyatta University. He lives in Nairobi, Kenya and is passionate about films. *Shortlisted for the NUHA Adult Blogging Prize 2013*

I support the funding of higher education despite the tight finances because there are countless reasons why we should support education. Educating our youth is more worthy than other forms of investment. This is because of an obvious reason: they are our future. They are the ones to take care of us in our old age. They are the ones to herald technological development as well as finish what we started.

What they have said and done about it: essence

There are financial strains here and there but as Apple’s Senior Vice President Philip Schiller puts is, “Education is in Apple’s DNA.” we have to seek such inspiration from world leaders in educational technology and related multidisciplinary fields for the best of our future.

When US President visited the African continent, one of the priorities was to power the continent through $7 billion initiative. Through access to electricity, more students will get access to facilities that rely on electricity especially computers which are indispensable in facilitating learning.

The government of South Korea plans to digitize the high school curriculum by 2015. I must admit that the devices required to read eBooks will be costly in terms of the units to be bought. But it’s worth it right? Taking into account the fact that the traditional books are bulky and when torn its rather difficult costly to keep them in shape. Rather the only annual cost for eBooks is updating them.

“Eragon looked back at him, confused, ‘I don’t understand.’

‘Of course you don’t,’ said Brom impatiently. ‘That’s why I’m teaching you and not the other way round.'” This is a literary snippet form Christopher Paolini’s book made into a 2006 fantasy adventure-film ‘Eragon’ by the same title. He started reading (fantasy) books at the age of 10 and writing at age 15. Educating himself lead to his widely-acclaimed success.

Where the problem is:

American Billionaires are currently dumping their shares in the US market citing the problem as the fact that the latter isn’t performing as expected. Apparently this may ricochet to the education funding industry due to the interconnection of fiscal institutions.

The things that directly affect or are affected by funding of undergraduate education include funding of mortgage and unemployment which leads to a log in the repayment process in the educational loans. The most tangible thing to do is to educate the youth on how to create jobs in this digital era. The quotations provided further show how the funding of high school education has been affected by either ignorance or breaching of fiscal management norms.

“In 2002, the Detroit Public Schools had a $103.6 million surplus. Now the district faces a deficit of $259 million and is contemplating filing for bankruptcy protection, a rare occurrence in the history of American public education… The FBI has targeted a school district payroll manager for allegedly embezzling $400,000.” Educationext.org -The Phony Funding Crisis.

“In fall 2003, it is estimated that at least 250,000 prospective students were shut out of higher education due to rising tuition or cutbacks in admissions and course offerings.”

“A university president has warned that any more delays in solving the funding crisis in higher education will damage thousands of students.” -Irish Examiner

On to funding education, a study shows that there are obvious deficits in funding campus education. For instance, at the University of California there is a myth that the varsity doesn’t really have a budget problem because it has so many different funding sources it can dip into. Yes it is true, but the strain, from my view, comes from the fact that many students are training for courses that are not so demanded for in the job market.

This translates to underemployment especially in STEM-related jobs. Unemployment leads to delayed repayment of the educational loans and the mortgage industry suffers too.

The way to go: filling the gaps of education and manpower, through right career choices and investments.

Apparently my country is not an exemption since I had to go through an endless chain of scholarship applications, begging prospective sponsors who eluded me with twinning explanations, varsity admission orientations that were not fruitful…so I decided to work for my education.

It would be wise for the high school curriculum to engage students in discussions on the importance to know what tuition fee, loan, maintenance grant, university bursaries and scholarships, course grant and fee grant benefits are and the statistics on the current strain on educational resources so that they can make informed career decisions. However we cannot be reluctant to fund education since it is the pillar for tomorrow’s generation’s survival.

“Digital jobs are created through the application of information and communications technologies (ICT) to a new or existing activity or process. Digital jobs generally include performing information-based tasks that build the individual’s capacity for future work.”-Rockefeller Foundation which is to pump $97 in creating digital jobs in Africa. Judith Rodin, President of the Rockefeller Foundation, made the announcement on at the World Economic Forum on Africa in Cape Town, South Africa earlier this year in June. I am dedicating this to STEM for helping me benefit directly from the above.

The same way a photographer tracks an athlete and the background blurs or takes photographs of the monuments at Utah and spends the night getting the best shots of the night sky. It is a serious thing that we should sponsor education even though there are other problems to deal with. Education will then help us solve these problems. A pragmatic way of approaching the future it is.

Education is so important because it develops a generation of responsible individuals who understand the forms of proper conduct. It also helps a person define their career objectives that will help them build a skill set. It is the best for our generation. Some of the major reasons may be that we may prioritize other areas of operations like scientific research in archaeology, emerging technologies as well as exploring the dead worlds…but it won’t be sensible to try reach for the top of the pyramid when we haven’t worked on the foundation.

“If you have a daughter, she should go be an engineer.” Says Meg Whitman, the President and CEO, Hewlett-Packard. She is genuinely concerned about the importance of education despite the fact that funding isn’t easy. We can always find our way forward. You really wouldn’t how strong you can be until the only option you have left is to be strong. IBM (Ignite Camps), Microsoft Youth Spark, HP Catalyst, Boeing STEM summer camps in conjunction with the US NAVY, IMAX community education among others are really supporting education in their respective capacities and collaborations.

The strength lies not in your investment but the power of your dreams. In my country, there is a man called Kinuthia. According to Forbes, Kinuthia has a remarkable story. In 1995, he started off manufacturing shampoos and conditioners from a makeshift apartment in Nairobi with start-up capital of Ksh. 3,000 ($40). He made these products manually using plastic drums and a huge mixing stick and heating oils, delivering his products by handcart to local salons and hairdressers. In the beginning, commercial banks refused to fund his venture while mainstream salons, beauty parlors and large retail outlets refused to stock his product because it was too native. Would you believe that he became the owner of Interconsumer Products known for Nice&Lovely, Clarion, Queen Elizabeth and others? L’Oreal Paris opened a regional office for East Africa in 2011…and having faced stiff competition went on to buy I.P for a cool Ksh. 3 billion, but Kinuthia still runs part of the business. This is the art of not dismissing the smallest dreams in our undergraduate students. The same dream applies to “Avatar” film maker James Cameron, who waited 13 years to make the story a real reel.

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