Hi Givologists! My name is Rachel Chuang and I am a junior at Cornell University studying biology and business. I’ve been working with Givology for almost four years now as the Director of Special Projects, and have gotten the chance to be a part of some really awesome initiatives (such as co-leading the publication of [url=http://www.amazon.com/GiveInspiration-How-Give-Effectively-ebook/dp/B00B46UV5I]Givology’s book[/url]) and to volunteer with amazing people all across the US and the globe!
Working at Givology has brought to mind a lot of questions that I hope to address in this weekly blog:
- How do we as individuals maximize and allocate our time, money, and efforts to make the greatest impact globally?
- Why has our [url=http://www.euractiv.com/development-policy/auditors-slams-effectiveness-eu-news-530807]impact been minimized[/url] in certain countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo?
- How do we make our impact in the world sustainable instead of a “one-time” effort?
- How do educations systems vary between countries that we are providing aid to?
- What practices are effective and what practices are not?
Over the next ten or so weeks, I aim to delve into the last two questions. I will draw connections between education systems that Givology currently works with partner grassroots organizations to impact (often in developing countries). As a disclaimer, the order in which I highlight different countries is by no means a reflection of their “ranking” as the best/ worst education systems.
I hope to shed greater light on different education practices that are implemented worldwide. Through this blog, I also hope to increase my own knowledge, as well as your knowledge, about these countries so that we can become better, more active global citizens, and be able to understand (at least a little) more of where we can make a difference!
The first education system that I will look at is Kenya, which has implemented new policies over the last 55 years. Kenya’s education system has witnessed large growth over the past few decades. One of Givology’s partners, [url=http://www.flyingkites.org/what-we-do/]Flying Kites[/url], runs a home and a primary school for orphaned and vulnerable children in Njabini, Kenya, and also provides scholarships to students across the country. [url=http://www.shofco.org/]Shining Hope for Communities[/url], another Givology partner, works in Kibera, Kenya to promote girls education by working to make schools tuition-free.
[i]The Kibera School for Girls, an initiative led by Shining Hope for Communities[/i]
[b]Nine Facts about Kenya’s Education[/b]
1. In 1985, Kenya altered its education system to 8-4-4 (eight years of primary education, four years of secondary education and four years of University).
2. There are about 3000 secondary schools with an enrollment of 620,000 students.
3. In 2003, Kenya announced a new policy of free primary school education.
4. After each term, students in every grade level are required to complete standardized tests. Good grades are critical in advancing onto secondary school.
5. Students who achieve the best results on standardized tests attend better national schools.
6. Large disparities have been observed between private and public schools in Kenya, as private schools often have lower teacher to student ratios, electricity, more resources, etc.
7. Some public schools have 60 to 80 students per class.
8. 85 percent of children in Kenya attend primary school, 24 percent attend secondary school, and 2 percent go on to study at higher education institutions.
9. Most primary schools are state-owned.
While browsing the website of Flying Kites, I found the following quote by Dr. Paul Farmer, “The idea that some lives matter less is the root of all that is wrong with the world.” In Kenya, wealth is often directly correlated with the quality of one’s education, and we can even observe some of these subtle disparities in the United States, with private schools, etc.
Other countries, such as Finland (which has been consistently ranked as one of the top ten education systems in the world), have no gifted programs and all children are taught in the same classroom regardless of "intelligence." Equality in the quality of education for every single student, poor or rich, “smart” or “not smart,” is extremely difficult to maintain between schools and even classrooms, but it is possible. It is interesting that we see many organizations combating this issue by funding student scholarships as a “bottom-up” approach; whereas in countries like Finland, a “top-down” approach is implemented instead (as there are no “better” schools or “better” programs and all students are provided with the same quality of education).
Thanks so much for reading! Feel free to leave comments, feedback, questions, etc. below- What surprised you the most? What areas in Kenya’s education system should we focus on? I would love to hear from you. Until next time!
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