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.
“Will you teach me in that university?”
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.
WHEN WILL I START LIVING!
the day is dawn while dusk
i cant recall ma last meal
i wish i had gone to school
but the feeding programme aint there anymore
and ave got siblings to look after.
mum and dad are no more!!
i curse where AIDS came from…
but then i cant loose hope
its all i got..hope that
things will get better
and tomorrow will provide new opportunities!
hope! hope! hope! you are all i GOT
Les enfants de la République démocratique du Congo étudiant en plein air à l’Est fuyant la guerre et sont sans soutien.
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.