A Journey Towards Education For All

It’s easy to say: “I want education for everyone”, “everyone should be able to go to school” or “everyone should have the same level of education”, it’s another thing to do it. We tend to trust the companies which prone that dream and we assume that everyone of them is understanding the problems they will have during the process of making it becoming true. Unfortunately, I’m not so sure about the fact that they understand the obstacles in generalizing education. This article’s goal is to help everyone realize it’s not that simple and maybe make you come with ideas to innovate.

What does “same level of education” means ?

To start, it’s important to understand what’s the meaning of “same level of education”. Does it mean the same level of knowledge ? the same schooling environment ? or something else ? There’s not real answer to that question. You define it as you want but here are some point you shouldn’t forget during making you choice of what’s the definition. Firstly, the words “same level of knowledge” sound a little bit weird, aren’t they? It looks like we are building an army of robot, which will have like-minded members. Nobody will think by himself and will just follow the orders. Is it what you really want for yourself or for you children ? Secondly, If we talk about the same level of knowledge how do we choose the standards of education ? Do we base this on actual education of developed countries ? Do we create new ones ? In all cases, it’s totally subjective and it will not fit perfectly for every cases ( you’ll understand later). Thirdly, giving the same schooling environment will be only possible when the wealth distribution issues will be solved. It’s another subject but we can say that some people don’t want these problems to be solved or that they are hard to solve, so it’s not in a near future that we can give the same schooling environment to everyone. Finally, we see that it’s not that easy to define “the same level of education”. We need to take into account a lot of (too much) parameters to make this possible. And even if it’s possible, is it really something we need ? is it valuable ? Isn’t the diversity of people the best thing we have on this planet ?

Different needs

The first and maybe the most important point is that people, societies, countries or even continent don’t have the same needs in education. For convenience in this article we will generalize, even if I don’t really like that. We will take three kinds of countries, see what’s the daily life of the majority of people, what are their needs and then deduce the role of education.

Developed countries

That part should be easy to understand for the majority of you guys because it’s normally what you’re living. Everyday, students take the bus, take the bike or take a car to go to school, the time they spend in transports is pretty short, they have limited risks on the way to go to class. They have short breaks to play with friends, sometimes eat a little bit or do sports (if that’s not what they do when they play with friends). They have lunch break at the cafeteria, in which you can find copious and pretty healthy meals. When they are in class they can enjoy, new blackboards, computers, and all kind of furnitures. They are generally in small groups of students which facilitates, the focus of students but also the interaction with the teacher. Outside school, their parents want them to discover new things about life by traveling, developing social skills and follow good habits. If you’re not good at school in that kind of countries, it’s still a problem but generally we tend to laugh about it and say something like: “You’ll not do an intellectual work, that’s all”. School is defining the professional life but will not determine if you will have an happy. Make friends, parties and love are sometimes seen as far more important than a simple job.

Countries in development

Everyday, students take the bus, take the bike and if possible the car to go to school. The time they spend in transports tend to be a little bit longer than our friends from developed countries, they also encounter more risks during the travel. They have short breaks to play with friends or do sports. They have a lunch break at the cafeteria in which they can find copious meals. When they are in class they can use ancient blackboards and some extra furnitures. They are generally middle size groups (sometimes big) which makes the interaction with the teacher really hard and plays a big role on student’s focus. Outside school, their parents want them to study hard and only think about their studies. If you’re not good at school in these countries, it means that your family and you will have hard times. School is defining a prosperous and happy life. You should become happy after receiving a good salary from a good company. Make friends, parties and love are in the background. You’ll find everything after having a good professional life.

Under developed countries

Everyday, students walk to go to school. The time they spend walking is tremendous. They face great risks, by crossing desert or rivers or other natural obstacles. They have short breaks to play with friends and do sport. They generally lack of cafeteria and their parents make the lunch for them. As the parents are working hard but don’t have a lot of money the meal is not copious and not healthy. When they finally arrive in class they are in small groups of students but they lack of teachers. Outside school, parents don’t understand what’s the purpose of sending the children there. For them it would be better for the family that the children help parents to bring money at home or find food. School never brought something to them in the past and they survive by themselves. Making friends and love are the most important points in these societies.

Mini conclusion

Now, you maybe noticed something (except the pattern I used). Each points which are in bold are what can help to define the needs of these people. Let’s take for example the case of people in under developed countries.

  • How can’t they be tired once they arrive at school ?
  • How can they still focus after unhealthy and small portion for lunch?
  • How can they have proper education without having enough teachers?
  • How can’t parents choose to survive over education ?
  • Why not choosing simpler ways in life to be happy ?

So, we understand that school is not a priority and in the cases the children go to school they can’t properly follow a proper education due to some lacks (food, teachers, sleep, …). So school will bring no opportunities to them to improve their life and so they will tend to reproduce what their parents did. It’s as you can see a vicious circle. For the in development countries parents tends to over stress their children which generally results in good grades but:

  • What about their health ?
  • What about their social skills ?
  • What about their creativity ?

All these points are real problems that these countries are facing. Some schools even put maths classes on sport hours to make them study harder and then pass exams. It would be unimaginable in developed countries to do things like that. And for me the most striking problem is that student can’t really think by themselves. After spending a lot of time waiting for teachers’ lectures or feedbacks they forget that they also have a brain and while facing problems in life, they are totally lost. For the case of developed countries, the major problem is that people go to school just because they have to go to school, nothing more. They choose a field because they have to choose. So sometimes it results in problems in their adult life. After reflecting a little bit, they say it’s not what they really wanted to do. That’s why it causes a lot of nervous breakdown in these societies, people can’t find the exit door to finally have the life they dream about. Finally, I would say that I took examples of countries but these problems exists at a lower level, inside a same country (with developed cities and under developed ones) and in a same city (with developed neighborhoods and under developed ones). In some cities the level of education vary a lot if we cross a street or walk for a block. We can have a poor family which is working hard to survive, we can have a family which push the students really hard and we can have families fairly wealthy or wealthy which will provide more point of views to their children.

Different conditions

Let’s assume in that part that everyone see the value of education at school. Every parent want to send the children there. Do you think everyone will have the same level of education ? Of course I talked about the lack of teacher, sleep food and etc… But I didn’t really talk about the lack of technologies, investments and help which would be the determinant factors to provide same education for everyone. Online teaching websites are pretending to open education for everyone and in a sense it’s true, everyone who has an Internet connection can access it (and it’s a fairly good number). But there are still a lot of people who can’t have access to Internet, yes you know… Internet ! that thing people can’t live without in developed or in in development countries. So yes they make interesting projects and yes it will help more and more people in the future but for now we have a lot of work to do to ensure the same level of education to everyone. I took the example of online teaching websites, but what about teachers ? Can’t we assume that some destinations are more attractive than other to teach? Would you want to teach next to a desert ? It already happens in cities, some teachers try to avoid certain neighborhoods and so the level of education is inferior in those places. Why couldn’t it be the same at an international level ? It is hard to say if it would happen, it’s just suppositions but by analyzing the current situation we can’t really see other possibilities.

Some questions

  • How can we make the schools attractive for people in under developed countries ?
  • How can we help in providing better access to online or physical resources needed ?
  • How can we create a better balance between social and mental skills for developed and in development countries ?
  • How can we help students to make the good choices for their future ?
  • How can we make school more interesting for everyone ?
  • Does everyone want the same level of education as other ?
  • How do we choose the standards for “level of education” ?

Conclusion

Before to give a conclusion I would like to say once again that I generalized but I described trends in the different types of countries. Now that we are clear about that, I would like to say that maybe we should try to use better words or sentences to describe our goals in expanding education. It’s not as easy as it seems. It’s not just publishing a website which will help everyone on the planet, it’s not only sending children to schools which will help to make them happy, it’s not by just creating schools that children will have a great life. If you have comments about this article and you would like to share some ideas with me, you can find my contact at the bottom of the page.

Written on December 21, 2017