Nowadays, most people are familiar with the philanthropic idea of spreading education across third world countries. Most people know that in countries like Ghana, only 50 percent of children reach grade five, and the majority of children cant even comprehend a simple paragraph (according to [url=https://ssir.org/articles/entry/redefining_education_in_the_developing_world]this[/url] Stanford article). However, most people dont know one of the mains reason why elementary school dropout rates in African countries are at a staggering 42 percent (according to [url=http://www.unesco.org/new/en/dakar/about-this-office/single-view/news/42_of_african_school_children_will_drop_out_before_the_end_of_primary_education/#.WBLfeaOZNmA]UNESCO[/url]) is because of the western educational models imposed in those countries.
The western educational model isnt compatible with the health, social, or political conditions of many third world countries, meaning that in order to aid these countries young students, we need to change the educational models that we introduce.
Some problems produced by the western model include transportation, costs, quality of education, and the roles of children in supporting their families. Not every child can find a way to attend class daily or pay for the costs associated with schooling (i.e. tuition, uniforms, lunch, etc.). Also, if the quality of the education provided is poorwhich is usually the caseparents are forced to pay for tutoring to ensure their childrens success in school. Lastly, in impoverished countries, most children contribute to their families incomes and wellbeing through various forms of work, which conflict with time spent at school. However, most importantly, many western subjectfor the most partprove impertinent to the adult lives of these students.
One of the main arguments in support of spreading education is that these countries will benefit, and subsequently become more prosperous and developed. But thats not the case. In [url=https://ssir.org/articles/entry/redefining_education_in_the_developing_world]this[/url] Stanford article, Epstein and Yuthas argue that high performing students in less developed regions face a much different future from their counterparts in wealthier areas, since there are no higher levels of schooling or professional job opportunities awaiting most of these children. So, teaching these children things like Greek mythology or advanced mathematics wont benefit their current situation. Instead, Epstein and Yuthas vouch for schools of life, or schools that break from (irrelevant) standardized teaching and focus more on helping their students prosper within their own unique social and economic conditions. In their curriculum, entrepreneurship and health modules are mandatory subjects for all students, and the learning methods are all student-centered. The students will practice routine health behaviors (i.e. washing their hands) and learn important skills, like boiling drinking water and using malaria nets. The authors model is highly hypothetical. However, the ideas behind it are completely feasible: if we want to help others, we have to know [i]how[/i] to help them.
So, what can we do? An option could be reforming the way health and educational organizations measure educational development. Rather than zero in on test scores and grade point averages, these organizations should analyze the health and economic conditions of these communities, and try to contribute more to those areas. Our goal is to help people through education, and if the western model doesnt do that, we can find another way.
by Isabell Liu
Givology Staff's Blog
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