I'd describe this blog as a place for the purposeful ramblings of Ruth and others. You get to read my thoughts. Will you please share yours, too?

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Differences in Education

School Children
Originally uploaded by (t)ruth.
We visited the school today and it was very eye-opening. It was grateful that there were so many children enrolled in school, but I did find myself questioning the level of education they are receiving.

As much as I complain about the school system in the United States, I realize now that my complaints often revolve around the fact that there is TOO MUCH offered at American public schools: too many opportunities for involvement, too intense of a commitment required for extra-curricular activities, too much pressure to perform, too many A.P classes at too young of an age, too strong of an emphasis on getting into college, too great a worry about fitting into a peer group.

None of those things are a concern here. They have too little funding, too little space, too little supplies, too little resources, too few teachers, too low education level of teachers, too little consistency.

In the U.S., if a student doesn't attend class, it's probably because they're ditching or they're faking sick to avoid turning in an assignment. Here, if a student is absent, it's likely because they had to stay home and care for an ill parent or they had to work to help sustain the family financially. What a different world.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please be careful in your observations of American schools. Just as in Africa, schools here run the gamut: the very well funded to those that have nothing; teachers who are gifted and well-educated to those who have very little experience or knowledge and can’t serve their kids well; parents who are invested to those who are clueless; overcrowded classrooms vs. “great” learning environments; supportive communities and communities at war with schools; politicians, private interests, and bureaucracy; "good" intentions and "bad".

Even within the CISD there is an ENORMOUS range of teachers, students, parents, facilities, resources, needs and opinion.

I am so glad that you had the opportunity to visit Africa, the voice to share it with us, and the fortitude to let the experience change your life.


June 22, 2005 2:03 PM

Blogger Ruth said...

It is true that there is a wide range of schooling situations in the U.S. and I'm not saying that every school is operating under ideal circumstances. However, we often take for granted what we do have here. Seeing those schools made me realize how lucky I was to grow up in a place where I was taught in a relatively healthy school system. Most of the challenges faced by schools in the U.S. are quite minor compared to the challenges Zambian schools face. Yes, these are broad generalizations, but they are meant to be and I don't think they are inaccurate. Your perspective is appreciated, thanks for bringing up additional thoughts to consider.

June 22, 2005 2:20 PM


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