Take action for education!!
Look at the actions that have come flooding in from around the world in support of education! Is your country covered?
Check it out, and sign up to show your support here: www.education-transforms.org
If Faraday had no access to books at all, imagine what the world could have lost. Please help Inspiration Cafe get off ground so that societies in India without a library can have one and academic help for free. I have started a fundraising campaign on Indiegogo.com and if not with money, please help like and share the page so that our chances of meeting our goals can get better.
The fundraiser page - http://igg.me/p/497433/x/4346713
A Broken System
Since I was a child I have had a deep conviction to make a difference. I have valued leadership, equality, social justice, environmental stewardship, and so much more. This is because of education. I started in the poorest district in Colorado, one of the worst funded education systems in the country. I finished in one of the lowest funded, 27J. I knew this throughout my life. I knew if I wanted to learn, I needed to go outside of my over crowded classroom. Not physically, but mentally. I spent my lunches and the 15 minutes before the bus came after school, in my teachers’ rooms. Through out high school I formed so many bonds with them, I was the living definition of, “it takes a village to raise a child.” This deep connection with my teachers made budget cuts tear on my heartstrings because I knew how much my teachers tried everyday. I knew they were making a difference because of passion, never their paycheck, but that didn’t make it easier. I struggled with the packed classrooms and I wasn’t even the one trying to manage them. I watched my school downgrade every year as more millions were cut and I thought once I graduated I would leave to never look back, but I was dead wrong.
I was in my freshmen year of college when I found out the bond to fund my hometown district failed. I sat in the corner of the dining hall, tears falling, with a fellow Prairie View grad. We knew how much our teachers did. I was a teacher’s aide every year, I was in Student Council, played and managed soccer, and saw first-hand the passion that pushed my teachers. I have seen some of the best teachers lose their jobs while worksheet teachers with no dedication, skid by every year, just like their students. I went from being a proud, involved Thunder-hawk to a disappointed, ashamed alumnus. After my first year of college I returned to my hometown with a plan on how to pass MillLevi 3A, the bond to fund our district. 3 attempted emails later I finally got a response from the superintendent about a meeting. I prepped a PowerPoint, an outlined plan, all backed up with data I spent personal time to find. I showed up with faith and hope to be completely shot down. I didn’t even get to open my presentation. I was told, “No. The polling says no.” Not even a chance for me to show all the hard work I put in with my limited free time.
I left that meeting, got amped up again with “Pass 3A 2.0 - Revised Plan.” Sent the email, no response. A year later, I still haven’t heard a word. The only things I’ve heard about the district is their failing grades provided by the state.
This is the Year of the Student. I have created, signed, and shared petitions because my name on a list of thousands will be more heard than my endless attempts to reach out to my own district as a citizen, alumni, and former aspiring educator.
I wanted nothing more than to teach high school English. I was happy with little pay, as long as I had a chance at making a difference in someone’s life like the many teachers who changed mine. Now, I have no desire. My plan has completely changed because the way I have seen administrations treat their committed teachers, and lack of passion for students. Their conviction seems to lie in power more than anything, and it was painfully obvious as a student who could see teachers immediately on edge as an administrator walked by. As experienced administrators get pushed out, inexperienced, power hungry rookies come waltzing in the door. Quite frankly, it is disgraceful.
No one has to say a word, the passion is being defeated by arrogance, and it’s written on the helpless faces of so many.
Disgusted. That is the only word that comes to mind when I think of my Alma mater. The place that inspired me to be a leader and follow my heart now inspires me to dedicate my whole being to fixing the broken system. No matter what it takes. I will follow a graduate degree in Education Policy and return to secondary education to reform it. Because if I have learned anything from seeing the management at district 27J, it’s that it needs to be scrapped and rebuilt from the bottom up.
I send this letter in hopes it will inspire and evoke those sitting in positions of power, to dedicate themselves towards make a positive difference for students, teachers, and this community. I know some things are out of your hands, but conviction towards change, brings it and I hope that in your leadership positions you can devote yourself towards trying to make change like, and for, the many teachers who challenge and inspire students every single day.
Go to School, graduate and get a Job
Many years back, what was prevalent amongst the advice of our parents was that, it is important to go to school. No doubt, education is very important in order to acquire required knowledge in diverse areas and for development. We were not only encouraged to go to school but motivated and given incentives to ensure we complete. I remember my parents used to tell me the importance of education which I also discovered as I grew up. In their words…“if you go to school, after you graduate, you will get a good job”. Ofcourse, this has been the experience of so many people however, it may no longer apply in this process.
One of the buzz words which is prevalent in development is ‘entrepreneurship’. You may have also met or read about people who are proudly entrepreneurs by profession. Entrepreneurs own their own businesses and live up to the risks involved in managing businesses. How can entrepreneurs then extend these opportunities for wider societal development impact while ensuring that their entrepreneurship targets are met?
Social entrepreneurs as defined by Ashoka ‘are individual with innovative solutions to society’s most pressing social problems, it further mentioned that they are ambitious and persistent, tackling major social issues and offering new ideas for wide-scale change’. The youth make up more than 60% of the Nigerian population. Nigeria also has a large number of unemployed youth hence, the need for change in thinking and time to start getting innovative. The government makes promises in every sector for what they plan to do or provide as the case maybe however, will definitely not be able to cater for the whole population especially with the problem of good governance. Globally, there is general excitement at the discovery of a new way of doing things which demonstrates that innovation in development is crucial.
The world is yearning for social entrepreneurs who will not wait for the government of their country but step up their thinking for innovative ideas and solutions for wider societal good. So, as you go through school, while also allowing school to go through you, be open to other form of learning and ideas. This should be the thinking for today and advice to all energetic youth out there.
What do you think makes a good teacher?
Last year, our report showed that 250 million children aren’t learning the basics, whether they’re in school or not. This year, our report will look into why this is the case, and how teachers can help us fix the problem.
Join us as we start the debates via twitter using #teachandlearn and on facebook
Bridging the finance gap to get all children in school
The world needs to discuss how to find the $26bn needed to get all children into school.
We have an idea how it can be achieved: http://bit.ly/10PdBJJ
My name is Alexandria Forsyth. I am writing on behalf of the International Youth Initiative Program (YIP), and on the behalf of youth worldwide. After studying for a year in University, I decided I needed something more out of an education and I applied to YIP.
In the most basic sense, YIP is 40 participants aged 19 to 25, from all over the world, living and studying together for one year, exploring how to change the world through developing themselves.
YIP is primarily concerned with strengthening the capacity of young people to take an active role in fostering positive cultural, social, environmental, and economic change that will benefit all sections of society.
Acknowledging the challenges presented by the current issues presented by the time and world in which we live, the culture of YIP is one of questioning complexity, rather than seeking simple ‘quick-fix’ answers to dynamic challenges. YIP provides a space that allows its participants to stay with their questions, however uncertain and uncomfortable it may be. Instead of mandating obscure or irrelevant educational requirements, YIP challenges its participants to explore deeply those questions that interlink the human being to the greater whole.
As a YIP alumni, I believe that this is one of the most relevant and important educational programs of our time. Because of this, I am writing to you now, asking you to join me in supporting this amazing initiative. YIP is striving to be one of the world’s first crowd-funded education programs. Our goal is to raise 1 million SEK ($155,210). In order to raise this money, we want to build a community of 1000 “YIP Friends” who donate an amount of 1,000 SEK ($155) every year. We all know that times are tough, and one-time donations of any amount help us out as well! This global network of YIP-Friends will make YIP financially resilient and community-supported. Your money will cover the educational costs of the program, which under Swedish law cannot be charged to students.
As we step boldly into an unknown future full of a convergence of crises, it is clear we need to find new forms to address these challenges in innovative, dynamic, and holistic ways. YIP is an education that provides young people with the opportunity to truly find the capacities necessary within themselves, and equips them with the tools to create the sustainable change necessary, as well as the ability to continually develop new tools as circumstances demand. By becoming a YIP Friend, you are saying yes to a new form of education, where youth are given the freedom to explore these capacities and tools.
Applications are also open for YIP 2013-2014! An opportunity not to be missed.
Thank you from all of us in the YIP network,
Please go here to donate, apply, or read more about YIP!
Will Kenya’s stark education inequalities feature in the second presidential debate, to be held tomorrow? We think they should.
By Pauline Rose, Director of the EFA Global Monitoring Report
Education has emerged as a leading theme in the campaign for Kenya’s hotly contested presidential election next week. The quality of education, the lack of teachers and making sure children make it to secondary school all came up in the first presidential debate on February 11.
While these are important issues, there is one that goes deeper, because it keeps so many children out of school: the stark inequalities faced by so many in Keny, including pastoralists, urban slum dwellers and refugees. When the presidential candidates meet today for their second debate, they have a chance to tackle this injustice.
Kenya has made some great strides in education over the past dozen years. When the government officially abolished primary school fees, many more children were able to attend. Enrolment rates increased from 62% to 83% from 1999-2009, as we found in the 2012 Education for All Global Monitoring Report.
Kenya is now looking beyond primary school to universal secondary education. But primary school is still a distant dream for 1 million children – especially girls and young women, as we highlighted on this blog a year ago. This makes it one of the 10 countries in the world with the highest numbers out of school. Check out our fact sheet on education in Kenya to read more. Tej reality is that, if you are from a rich household in Nairobi, your chances of getting into school are extremely high, whether you are male or female. But if you are poor and live in the pastoralist North-Eastern region, it’s a very different story, and even more so if you are female.
Kenya’s lowest enrolment ratios and largest gender gaps are found in the 10 most arid districts, inhabited predominantly by pastoralists. In the worst districts, less than 2 out of 10 girls enrol. Pastoralists have to move with their herds, so the government needs to find flexible and more mobile ways to meet their education needs – more urgently now than ever, as climate change forces herders to travel farther and farther in search of water.
To the government’s credit, it produced a plans for helping reach nomadic groups with an education after our report. But it continues to largely ignore the education rights of another large group whose needs we know are also acute: children living in urban slums.
About a third of Nairobi’s population – around 1 million people – live in slums. These settlements are deemed “illegal,” so they are not recognized in government plans for schools. Household poverty, poor child health and nutrition and extensive child labour prevent many children from getting an education. Most parents in slums have to pay for poor-quality private schooling, due to the lack of government schools there, while non-slum children have access to free government education.
Refugees are the third group in Kenya that faces huge barriers to education, as I described on this blog in 2011. Kenya has some of Africa’s largest refugee populations, many of whom fled from wars in Somalia and Sudan, but the government has been unable to support their education.
When I visited the sprawling Dadaab complex of refugee camps in northeastern Kenya in 2010, refugees told me they saw schooling as a top priority because “Education is the only thing we can take home.” But their hopes and aspirations are not being met. The government needs to make sure its education plans include helping refugee populations. Countries giving aid must help provide the funds to make these plans possible.
Ensuring education for all means making special efforts to reach those who have been excluded in the past. Kenya’s presidential candidates have a chance today in their debate to show they understand that principle – by highlighting the education barriers faced by those who most need the government’s help, especially rural girls, pastoralists, slum dwellers and refugees.
Share if you agree!!
Photo: Child in the Kakuma refugee camp, Kenya. (D. Willetts/UNESCO)
A post-2015 youth perspective: It’s make-or-break time for education
I came across this picture on my Facebook timeline a couple of days ago. It captures very well the state of education in many countries, where government schools providing free education are inadequate and quality of education is extremely poor.
In India, where I live, the government is going berserk to enrol children in schools and higher education institutes but quality has suffered badly, according to the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2012 published by Pratham, a non-government organization. The enrolment rate has risen but so has the dropout rate. Over 75.2% of all children enrolled in Standard 5 in government schools could not do simple division problems.
Globally, 61 million primary school age children are still out of school. More than 56 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa aged 15-24 have not completed primary school. In Tanzania, of 48 schools assessed, not even a single student could pass the primary school exam.
Primary education is vital for the inclusive growth of a country – and the individual. If you haven’t got primary education – because there were no schools or you went to a school that was dreadful – you don’t have an initial platform to stand on. It is the chief source of social mobility but it is not accessible to astonishingly large proportion of the poor.
Education, one of the basic rights of an individual, has become a distant dream for many; “quality education” has become a niche product accessible only by the elite. This has resulted in an extremely high skill deficit especially in developing countries, creating social malaise.
The OECD projects that India will produce 24 million graduates by the end of this decade, however:
- an earlier survey by the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) found that only 39.5% of all graduates in India were viewed as employable
- only 10% of graduates from business schools in India manage to get hired
- a study by Aspiring Minds showed that India produces more than 500,000 engineering graduates a year, but barely 3% of an assessed 55,000 graduates were viewed as ready to be employed without extra training.
The problem is not just in India or developing countries; Harvard Business Review estimates that by 2020, the worldwide shortage of highly skilled, college-educated workers could reach 40 million.. “Even America is neither producing enough college graduates to sustain a robust workforce, nor fulfilling its national promise of economic opportunity for all,” writes Daniel Greenstein.
There are more youth in the world now than ever before, and most of them are concentrated in developing countries. With less than two years to achieve the Education for All goals and the Millennium Development Goals, now is the time to start planning for Education Post 2015. The focus needs to switch to quality of education and skills training for youth that can lead to meaningful employment.
Two major steps are required post-2015:
- By 2030, all children and youth should complete primary and lower secondary education which enables them to meet measurable learning standards and acquire relevant skills so they may become responsible, productive members of society.
- Corporations should conduct an inventory of skills and create a detailed estimate of the kinds and amounts of skills they require. Based on these needs, they should conduct skills training programs, and diploma and certificate courses in partnership with government agencies.
Public-private partnerships and participation of youth in policy decisions regarding education and skills development should be the mantras for education post-2015. I agree with Pauline Rose that “Education needs its Bill Gates” but I would add that “Education also needs its Martin Luther King Jr” – education needs funds and equity.
Naim Keruwala was a member of the international editing team for the youth version of the 2012 EFA Global Monitoring Report. He is a project consultant (governance) at Mahratta Chamber of Commerce, Industries & Agriculture, a core team member of YUVA Unstoppable and an alumnus of AIESEC.
Email: naimkeruwala@gmailcom | Twitter: @Naim_K
Imagine a society where being a teacher is equally amazing as being a doctor.
If teachers are just as much as doctors are. Imagine the quality of education in that society. Kids will strive to be a teacher and not choose careers based on predicted incomes and what their parents tell them is a ‘very good’ career. Some people today still have the attitude that ‘if nothing else goes to plan - they’ll settle and become a teacher.’ That is not an attitude you want the teachers of your children to have.
Imagine a society where teachers drive ferraris. Imagine the quality of education then.
You can always say, then people will become teachers only for the income, but if a career like teaching is regarded as as important as being a doctor then becoming a teacher will be just as hard, and then only the best people become one of the most important figures in your child’s world.
I know that there are flaws to this idea and that there are economical and political boundaries that won’t let this happen probably in my lifetime.
But just a thought.
Freedom to Decide One’s Life Path
“Will you teach me in that university?”
Building a sustainable society through education
Building sustainable community wealth through adoption of the waste hierarchy model (3Rs) and Promotion of energy conservation and efficiency demonstrates social, environmental and economical responsibility. In fact, they encompass environmental benefits and provide social and economical advantages for higher institutions, schools, its student’s population, the local community and its environment. These activities would create jobs, boost food supply (saving and recovering of farmlands), raise life expectancy (e.g. improving healthy living), and guarantee a healthy future.
Jonathan has over 16 years experience of working with youth in South Africa. In 2011, he launched RealStart - a youth development programme designed to help disadvantaged young people change their lives, set their future career path and become positive roles models.
Projected industry needs