I want to make my messages clear—clear enough—for I am inviting you, fellows, to declare war. We must declare war on the inadequacy of resources for proper education. Reasonable facilities, class sizes, good teachers, and educational materials matter. If the goal is creating a responsible and resourceful society, education is the only and indispensable route to take. In the scheme of things, without an educated public there is no development and self-reliance.
We cannot afford to ignore the reality that over 50% of a Guraghe household (nearly 3 out of 5 people) is missing out in good education that could become a ticket to improve their lives. Even more disturbing is the lower participation rate of girls in schools. To gain some perspective, Guraghe households own about 0.5 hectare (almost 50% less than the Nation’s 1.01 hectare, and smaller than that in the Southern Nations and Nationalities Region, which is 0.89 hectare). That is the reality that has been driving the migration of the Guraghes in search of opportunities in other areas of the country for so long. The growth of the population and the inadequacy of arable land will exacerbate the exodus. Exodus without the skills to earn a living will endanger the people and the nation. But an educated and a skillful labor force will be employable anywhere. That is what could make the society transform into an educated and self-reliant community. For that to happen, the seeds of development must be sown now, and without delay. That in a sense is a major reason why Gurda was formed.
If we desire to change the current picture, if at all we care, we must treat it as an emergency as well as an existential threat. We must run an urgent and massive campaign for more student enrollment, scholar search, quality teacher training and development, repair and refurbishing of dilapidated schools, building new schools, equipping schools, providing learning and teaching materials, developing libraries and laboratories, access to computers, provision of extracurricular activities, school clinics, water facilities, adequate latrines – in short, we must be working to develop new and improved school infrastructure without expecting anybody else to do it for us.
The next 10 to 15 years must produce an educated and skilled workforce and human capacity that will serve the entire nation. That educated workforce only can lead us to the land of self-reliance and dependable future. If this is also your concern, I ask you to express it in action. Get involved! Know that it requires massive collaboration and investments. Anything less will absolutely be a pathetic attempt in obfuscation of the dangers we as a society are facing. We must therefore declare war on the lack of education, which begins with the lack of adequate infrastructure or poor infrastructure, and miseducation. We cannot, however, wage the war without recognizing the gravity of the abject conditions. We have to promise to make a generational difference today for tomorrow! Seeing the big picture will help us patiently and methodically bring out communities to the promise of excellence and self-reliance.
We must succeed!