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.
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
Trust Youth for (a) Change
According to The Mo Ibrahim Foundation report titled African Youth: Fulfilling the Potential, the continental average age is 20 years old, but the average age of our African leaders is 62. Africa’s tradition of rule by the elders – some of whom, unfortunately, assert a right to govern in perpetuity presents a challenge for youth to influence their country’s leadership in some states. This disconnect due to a variety of cultural, religious and traditional beliefs, between us and our elders, hampers and makes it difficult to solve our issues together. Maybe, we are ‘threatening’ and our elders do not want our questions. How can we approach our leaders in a way that is non-threatening and amicable? One of the ways to do this, which Youth are increasingly recognising, is through meaningful intergenerational dialogue.
As a youth, I have started to question whether our leaders are listening to and including youth in policy decisions. No, I am not denying that we aren’t being consulted; instead what I experience is a once a year youth month celebration which serves as platform for input from youth, and then it is business as usual. This is not necessarily best practice inclusive decision-making. Youth groups are fragmented amongst the bigger structures of leadership and we exist as sub groups from exactly those structures that make resolutions for us. We are disjointed in almost every platform where decisions are made. How possible is it for us to push integration of youth and inclusive participation? We cannot always exist as just networks of youths or young individuals. How about a Youth Affirmative Action Policy? Is that idea too radical as well? We don’t want to be included because of our category, but because we have valuable knowledge and innovative ideas needed to bring about change.
The ideas and models that are being used for youth development are still the same as in the past, yet our priorities have shifted in many ways. Our leaders are doing the same things repeatedly, expecting different outcomes. There are examples of programmes such as Activate! Leadership and Public Innovation that capacitates youth at a local level then connect them together to reach a critical mass of action that can positively develop and drive innovation at a country level. Making us as youth relative to the conversations and structures and to push for reforms using innovative ideas and providing new approaches to the same old problems our leaders are trying to fix.
In South Africa, discourse on youth is increasingly negative. We are referred to as a ticking-time bomb. We are often told that we are disengaged. Headlines in some media describe our aggressiveness and frustration. While we are being described in our deficit over and over, there are actually youths in our communities trying their level best at changing their circumstances for themselves and those in their communities. Let us look at CNN heroes’ nominee Thulani Madondo, and many other youths like him across the continent. We have an abundance of success stories to celebrate. Our perception of ourselves and the positive change we can contribute are extremely positive. These success stories are indications that youth are ready to meaningfully participate when it comes to solving the issues that affect us the most. Is it not also an indication that Africa does have dynamic and powerful youths who can navigate through structures of power with the valuable new knowledge we have? Youth have been so instrumental in change and used social media as a tool to achieve social justice. Many examples from Tunisia’s Virtual Voices, Twestival and the Arab Spring are some of them.
There are important leaders from our past including Ashley Kriel and the youth of 1976, and we acknowledge them, but this is the youth of NOW. The awareness of struggle heroes as champions of change and the previous generation of youth who had the ability to defy large structures are still romanticised, as much as we envisage our contribution that we are about to make. We are bound to do things differently even if we consciously remember those from our histories; we seek new ways at solving our problems. We are reinventing ourselves and defining our own vision. We can learn from the past, we can learn from the previous generation, but not everything.
My proposed solution is that succession planning is made for younger leadership and that more spaces or enabling environments are created for intergenerational dialogue where youth can participate in decision-making processes. More importantly, that our leaders, governments, business, communities, trust us. Otherwise, we will never ever convince ourselves of the value we are to this continent.
Trust us for a change.
Africa’s most prized assets, Youth.
The Cycle of Green Economy
When I first read about Green Economy, I became angry, sad and glad. I know these are mixed feelings, but that was how I felt. I imagined the extent to which the developed world is advancing. The economy the developing world is still talking about is the economy of bread and butter and the establishment of basic infrastructure. Nevertheless, I am fascinated by Green Economy because it will have an immense and profound impact in a developing country like my country Sierra Leone.
There are a lot sectors in which Green Economy will be brought into play. The energy sector in developing countries is largely untapped. The provision of electricity by government is far from adequate let alone the provision of power from the wind, the sun and natural gas. But what will have an instant investment success is recycling.
There are a lot of recyclable items in my country that go to waste. Recyclable items like metal, paper, plastic and glass are under-utilised.
A lot of trees will be saved if waste paper is recycled. Paper and paper products like card-boards, cartons and paper boxes constitute about three-fourths of the garbage content in the developing world. An investment project to collect such paper and paper products and a recycling plant to make recycled paper will be an instant hit. This investment will not only be economically viable, it will also reduce the litter in the streets, and in our neighbourhood, not to take about the reduced use of tree plants to manufacture paper
Metals that are discarded are also an unnecessary clutter in the environment. The business of scrap metals is already flourishing one. But there are a lot scrap metals that can still be collected and put to good use after recycling. Attention is only paid to big, heavy and bulky metals from times, nails and other articles and trinkets are overlooked. Collecting these metals, for recycling will be a good investment and will reduce the reliability on the extraction of ones to manufacture metals. Why should we away when such metals can be recycled?
Plastics, like paper, are other recyclable items of recyclable plastic are disposed of as garbage. A plastic recycling plant will address the waste plastic problem. The same applies to glass products. A lot of empty bottles are discarded as refuse in the environment. Recycling such glass products is a viable business.
Recycling these products will not only enhance Green Economy, but will also help cleanse our environment of garbage and filth and cut down on the pollution of streams, rivers, oceans and our planet. Recycling is one way youths will be involved in job creation.
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
No more Politics give Us quality Education #YouthSkillsWork
ekan samu wure! (I have found the place)
“Education to me is very important, it makes someone to understand life…but for me formal education should be incorporated with vocational training, so that when one is out of school and get no government job or any work at all, one can fall back on his skills and start private business, that is if government will give needed assistance to start..”.
- Ismaila Kaduna-Nigeria 28
- “Without education you cannot go anywhere, it is the best life for me…so more schools be built in our neighbourhood…and school fees reduced or removed” – Hadiza 16yrs Kaduna-Nigeria
`ekan samu wure! Which though not the real meaning literally means I have found the place drop me here or am getting off here n Hausa language a popular language spoken in Northern part of Nigeria and some part of Africa it is a daily phrase you hear if you commute through the public transport system. That phrase seems to be the shout of African youths as regard the reality of illiteracy, we are shouting, we are tired please drop us from this carry along and non-inclusive policy on all matters that concerns young people. Whereas few people dispute youths’ right to education, few efforts are made to ensure that youths actually benefit from education services.
I have grown up to know that education does not save you from deception, even at that it is still the only way out of oppression anyway. I know no system is perfect but here at home in Africa we must stop using that as an excuse to cut off a generational consciousness, because it is only a generational consciousness powered through education that can bring about the desired impact when young people get leadership power or get into places of influence.
I once read it somewhere that we have no future without children; worst of all what kind of future we would have with children without any form of education, I have witnessed a few crises both political and tribal here in Nigeria and those that used as fighters are young people with no education. I see children that are religiously confused both Muslim and Christian and worst of all those that do not belief in anything and they are more in number and can be bought over by the highest bidder because they have no means of livelihood. They do not understand how a civilized society works; they wake-up with no life goal; football viewing centres is their homes. However all this have to change, we as young people are saying youths are more of an asset, not really beneficiary of developmental project, like it seems now.
In over 15 years of serving humanity through volunteering for youthful causes from educational outreach to psychosocial health issues among youths, am a living witness to what education at whatever level can do, and when combined with life skills training, then you are creating a generation that would do wonders. From my activeness as a volunteer I came into leadership position as the youth coordinator in 2002, representing the youth on the management board of the Red Cross society in my region, (Benue) it was in this position, that I learnt the first lesson of youth participation, that is there is no place for the youth in leadership, not because we cannot lead but because the adult that failed in their youth, are afraid of what ‘I do not know’, so for youths to earn their place at the top, they must bring innovative ideas to the table, this I did through an inert embodiment of a balance necessary to learn quickly and perform exceptionally in new, challenging environments. Adding enthusiastic desire to take any initiative and being hard working; you must learn to put them at ease, while with you. We have to be genuine, optimistic and have a confident personality, with well-developed leadership skills, and have ways to engage challenges and challenge self and others to work collaboratively and approach issues in an innovative ways; these were the virtues that earned me a place among the ‘strong and mighty at that level’. I would not have done that, if I was not priviledged to have gotten some form of education and training.
As a youth camp director for eight years (2001-2008), I saw, the desire among youths to educate themselves, but there was a weak system to help them, even when they strive to attend, instructional materials are not available, cost of education are becoming expensive, we were not discouraged, we encouraged ourselves, those that could afford it then went ahead, other took advantage of the public system education that are available though not quality enough but it was affordable, while other enrolled into various skills programme. Looking back now we have over a hundred graduate, encouraged t
To collaborate my story that we are tired, I decided to interview our present gateman Ismaila Jamiau 28 years old, and a house-made to my neighbour Hadiza Emmanuel a 16 years old girl in the quarters where I live in Kaduna state-Nigeria, currently ending a one year volunteer service, teaching in college, he has they desire to go back to school after failing to get the needed five credit from high school (secondary school) to get him to college, as I wrote this piece he has gone back to register to re-sit for his examinations, in his words “Education to me is very important, it makes someone to understand life…but for me formal education should be incorporated with vocational training, so that when one is out of school and get no government job or any work at all, one can fall back on his skills and start private business, that is if government will give needed assistance to start. Also pray man-know-man should end with our parents and politicians from our areas should also pick the challenge to give educational scholarship”
For Hadiza, she was brought from the village to stay with a family; she attends evening secondary schools that fits to her work schedule, does her chores in the morning, while her employers and their kids are away to work and school, so on their return, she heads to school, the concern is the fatigue and concentration level in school, after such a tedious work, but she feels, it is better than no education at all, at least she can read now and getting to write gradually. “….though to be honest afternoon school is not that good because them the environment is not conducive to learn mathematics…but for many people like me that cannot wake and get ready for school, unless we finish our house work, it is helping us to at least get a form of education. So I appeal to government to build more school in our neighbourhood and get us better environment.”
We are tired of relying on politics and politicians, because we only do what is popular, depend on their opinion and appear better that we are; we want to be productive, becoming better than we appear and provide substance. So the appeal is build more schools that are equipped with instructional materials, open more vocational centres and get trained and qualified personnel to train us, until then ekan samu wure!, we would not go with carry along again.
Choice in Education
I go to an early/middle college program here in Michigan and the number one thing I’ve learned so far is the importance of choice, and the ability to pursue my own interests. I love social studies, and in early college I have the opportunity to take classes like introductory anthropology and African-American literature, where I’m genuinely interested in the subject matter and am learning more about what I want to do for a career. I think there should be away for all teenagers to explore their interests this way. If they know they want to be a politician, or a lawyer, or a cheesemonger, why spend eight hours a day, five days a week in classes which aren’t always tailored to what you want to do with your life? If you’re not going to be a chemist, why not only go to Chemistry three days a week, and spend the other two volunteering at the soup kitchen, because you want to operate your own nonprofit one day? I fully support well-rounded, liberal arts education, but I think that in a changing world, where more and more careers are invented by the people working in them, and more and more people are choosing jobs that are primarily freelance, students should get a jump as early as possible on preparing themselves for the careers they want to have, and developing skills that will serve them in the working world.
IPC #YouthWorkSkills Project for UN Day
We are a group of students from different countries studying at the International People’s College in Denmark, who have made a project about youth unemployment and education in our countries and the value of non-formal, intercultural, civic and peace education for UN day 2012. We invite you to view our project, comment and ask questions http://ipcyouthed-unday2012.posterous.com/
Learn………on congoles children. we need safe access to education
Movimiento de Gente de Naciones Avanzadas hacia Naciones en Desarrollo.
Juan A. Martínez
“LA NECESIDAD TIENE CARA DE CHUCHO (perro)”
El Movimiento de Talento Humano de Naciones Avanzadas hacia Naciones en Desarrollo. (Por Juan A. Martínez, Guatemala)
Nunca ha sido un secreto que “la necesidad tiene cara de chucho” como lo reza un dicho guatemalteco. En plena crisis, mientras transcurre el 2012, el movimiento de talento humano hacia otras naciones es incontrolable. La consciencia de este movimiento crea un sentimiento de inseguridad en los pertenecientes al sector proletarito de Guatemala. Al menos ese es mi caso. Las personas provenientes de un país desarrollado representan una mejor alternativa laboral por su experiencia en mercados más competitivos, por su capacidad de adaptación y su disciplina en ejecución de proyectos, obteniendo los puestos más altos y mejor remunerados en el sector laboral, en muchos de los sectores de la economía guatemalteca (Asociaciones civiles o ONG´s por ejemplo).
Esto de cierto modo, debe considerarse desleal, porque la educación guatemalteca aún se encuentra en proceso de desarrollo, dependiente del desarrollo económico, cultural y social de nuestro país. Esto equivale a que nuestras competencias laborales entre los jóvenes aún no son aptas para enfrentar esta encarnecida y globalizada competencia y si algunos lo son, solo es un porcentaje menor.
Movement of People from industrialized nations to developing countries.
The Human Resource Movement from Advanced Nations to Developing Countries. (By Juan A. Martinez, Guatemala)
In time of crisis the movement of human talent to other nations is unmanageable. The consciousness raising out of this movement creates a feeling of insecurity in the proletarian sector business of Guatemala. At least that’s my case. People coming from an industrialized country represent a better alternative because of their work experiences within more competitive markets, their ability to adjust to chaninging conditions and their high discipline in the execution of projects. As a result, they have an easier access to better positions and more money in the labour market of many economic sectors in Guatemala (civil associations or NGOs for example).
This should be considered unfair, because the education in Guatemala is still in a development process and depends exclusively on the economic, cultural and social development of our country. This means that our labor skills among young people are still not ideal to face this fierce and globalized competition and if some are, they represent only a small percentage of the population.