All children should have the opportunity to complete primary education. This should enable children to read, write, count, learn their national language (if their mother tongue is different) and gain some understanding of the wider world. Children may face many barriers to gaining primary education. These include fees, other payments for equipment and uniform, language, the stigma of HIV and AIDS and disabilities.
Education and literacy should open the door for people to gain access to information. They also bring confidence to understand and use information. Relevant information is a source of power. Practical information may enable people to make changes to their lives. This may be through taking action, networking with others or by understanding issues concerning health and education. Legal information may help people to challenge abuses of human rights.
There are many ways of sharing information. Walls can be used to display notices and information. Simple news sheets could be produced, photocopied and distributed. Community radio, particularly in local languages, can have a very wide impact. It enables people to tell their stories, to share timely information, hints on childcare and health, and news of meetings and events.
- Read Nehemiah 8:1-18. The King of Babylon invaded Judah, destroying the temple and taking most of the people of Israel into exile. The exile lasted 70 years. Nehemiah then obeyed God’s direction and rebuilt the city walls. The people then gathered together to listen to Ezra read from the word of God, which had not been read for 70 years. What preparations did they make to listen to God’s word in verses 1-6? What can we learn from this?
- What was the role of the Levites or Priests (verses 7-9)? Who helps us to understand God’s word today?
- How did the people respond once they understood the meaning of the teaching (verse 9)? Is this ever our response?
- How did Nehemiah and the Levites encourage them to respond in verses 10-12?
- Verses 13-17 describe how people responded to the teaching about the Feast of Tabernacles (Leviticus 23:33-43) by building shelters made from branches in which they lived for seven days. What was their response to this celebration? Do we have any opportunity to celebrate, study and worship together as Christians in this way? If not, could we plan to do this?
- This time of teaching enabled those who could not read to benefit fully. How can we ensure that people who are unable to read benefit fully from Christian teaching and from practical information? How can people gain literacy skills in our community?
- What barriers may children face within our community that prevent them from attending or completing primary schooling?
- Poorly trained teachers, lack of equipment and books, and large classes can all make education less effective. In what ways can parents and community leaders support and influence the quality of education in our schools?
- What barriers do people in our community face in obtaining information?
Articles 18, 19, 26, 27 UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights