Free Schools- A Stepping Stone but Not the Final Solution

Growing up in Singapore with my relatives living in Bangladesh meant that school holidays would be spent basking in the love and doting nature of excited grandparents and relatives. Amidst the beautiful memories, some thought-provoking images are still etched in my mind. Outside our car, at every traffic junction, would be children with unkempt hair and faces covered in soot – selling books, towels, magazines, balloons and flowers or just pleading for money. It was always a strange feeling, wondering why children like me had such different lives and hardship. I was always told that it was because they did not have an education or could not afford it. That triggered my belief that providing free schools for children will solve this problem and hopefully my own children will not have to see what I had seen outside our cars.

Gradually, I understood that free schools are only a stepping stone for enabling universal quality education, but definitely not the final solution. From Bangladesh to Trinidad and Tobago, primary education has been made free for children in these countries. Yet, globally, UNESCO reports show that 263 million children are still out of school. Of which the majority are girls. 

In this article, I lay out the case for a multi-step approach to helping children out of poverty and into education. Read my full article published on Voices, Theirworld, here!


2 thoughts on “Free Schools- A Stepping Stone but Not the Final Solution

  1. Waw… I’m excited and inspired by your passion to see every child gets some education. My experience have shown that education can lift one out of despondency and hopelessness to a brighter and promising future. Thanks for your courage to start this. I’m working on giving digital education to young people who otherwise may never have access to computers and technology. We are also interested in bringing in girls to learn coding. Software development is still an elitist thing in Africa and especially Northern Nigeria where I come from. Culture has ensured inequalities in several planes. But we are bend on making small contribution to cause change. Thanks again, Maisha for your inspiration.


    1. Hi Leeman, thank you so much for your kind words! You are really inspiring as well. As a woman in Science, I understand the significance of enabling women and girls to have opportunities and exposure to STEM fields. So you are doing some amazing work and I am really excited to see many more girls working and aspiring to be part of these fields. Great work!


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