Mar(k): Travel, Hiking, and "Doing Good"

musings on our life of travel and volunteering

What should we be teaching our children?

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For many children, even a classroom is a luxury….

Recently we attended a “Ted Talk” in Perth.  You may be familiar already with TED….  we love the format, and the thought-provoking ideas that come from this site.   Anyhow, there was a Ted Talk at the Inspiration Factory (which is where we will be speaking on 12 May – stay tuned for more details!). 

One of the talks we watched was this one.  The speaker is Sir Ken Robinson, who basically made a succinct (and funny!) case for why we need to be encouraging children to be more creative;  particularly in the school environment.  And that got us thinking about a few things.   Namely, about some of the issues that face school children in places like Ghana…..

Some of the most dedicated volunteers we had the pleasure of working with (and becoming friends with) were educators.   Educators from all over;  Australia, the UK, Scotland, etc…. who had given up their paid work in their home countries to go and help less fortunate children as VSO volunteers – in places like Ghana.

Mark offers guidance to would be journalism students

When we were there, we saw first hand the huge challenges that teachers face.  Challenges that are almost unfathomable to us in Australia.  Huge class sizes (we know of teachers who have taught classes in excess of 150 students)…. and of course what that means, is that getting much-needed one on one attention is virtually impossible.   Even having “homework” which is ultimately “marked” by the teacher is virtually unheard of, simply because of lack of resources (people power, in this instance) to mark it.  Ultimately, the students suffer;  they do not receive the kind of quality education they need in order to take the next steps in terms of further education;  be that secondary school, university, technical college or some other means of ongoing education.   Of course, those are the lucky ones.  So many children cannot afford to be sent to school.   Sometimes due to the cost of school books, uniforms, etc… but often also because they are required to help their parents on their farms, etc…. to try to eke out a subsistence living off of the land.  

It is these kinds of situations which are all together far too common in so many places in the world.  And whilst the talk that Ken Robinson gave was a compelling one;  and that indeed, children do need to have their creativity fostered…..  there are many other more basic issues at work in many developing countries in the world that mean that creativity comes pretty far down on the wish list when it comes to education.   Learning English, Maths and Sciences are challenges at best. 

Anyhow, there are no easy answers, but the talk did serve to reinforce for us how important children are everywhere.   They truly are our future, and deserve the absolute best that we can provide for them;  whatever that is, wherever you may be…..


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