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Teachers Without Borders

The role of education in empowering young people to shape their future | Back... - 0 views

  • Almost half of the world’s population – nearly 3 billion people – are under the age of 25. They are often marginalised and deprived, with poor access to education. But now young people in Algeria, Bahrain, Iran, Jordan, Libya, Morocco, Syria, and Yemen are calling for genuine opportunities to design their future.
  • “In the past we had civic education as part of our system, but it was taught under a totalitarian regime and therefore nobody was really interested,” said Ms. Elbadawy. “The ministry of education should consider reintroducing this subject again in a more interactive way so people will be interested.”
  • “The new education system needs to be tailored to the 21st century” he said. “Children in underdeveloped countries need to be brought up to speed with the latest developments in technology, industry and new media.”
Teachers Without Borders

EGYPT: Modern Teaching Practices Spur 15-Year Old to New Beginnings | CREATIV... - 0 views

  • “I believe the school environment was the main reason I dropped out. Mainly, I didn’t feel that I was learning anything. Teachers preferred using force and intimidation instead of listening to the students. I wasn’t able to understand a thing during class, and was constantly so scared.”
  • “I thought many times of going back to school, especially since my new school is very close to home. But at the time, my parents said I was too old to go back and that I’ll soon get married and have a home of my own. I still felt something missing from my life, and it was difficult for me to see my peers at the preparatory level going to school every day, while I stayed home.”
  • Safaa had the unique chance to tell her story to the USAID Mission Director, Mr. Jim Bever, on a surprise visit to Abou Harb School. “It was a really nice visit and had a huge impact on me. People came from such a far off place to visit our school, and spend time to talk to me! It really made a difference to me personally. I felt important and people were interested in listening to me and what I had to say.”
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  • Upon returning to school, Safaa was surprised by the changes in mindset, in teaching practice, and in the classroom environment as a whole. Although she was overwhelmed to be returning to the 6th grade after leaving school in the third, the changes she witnessed motivated her greatly to overcome her obstacles. “My first impression was my amazement with the class set up. The girls were sitting in groups, thinking together, discussing, and working as a team. No punishment, no intimidation, and everyone trying to help each other learn.”

  • “I have something to say to every girl thinking of dropping out of school: you will regret every day you spend away from school and from learning, for the rest of your life. I am very happy and would like to thank everyone who helped me and encouraged me to return to school. “Thank you TILO for helping my school to change and for helping me to learn again.”
Teachers Without Borders

In Cairo, schools reopen as uncertainty remains - 0 views

  • CAIRO - Fatema Salah said her students had never sung the Egyptian national anthem quite the way they did Sunday, the first day back to school for most Cairo pupils. Before, they shuffled through the morning ritual, heads down and sleepy. This time, standing in the school's shady courtyard for the first time since the revolution, they belted it out.
  • "Today, everybody sang loud," said Salah, principal of the Dar El Tarbiah School, a secondary school in central Cairo. "It was real. Many of them were in [Tahrir] Square themselves. They are very proud."
  • But with the pride, nervousness remained. Nearly half of Salah's students were absent, and across the city thousands of families ignored the reopening of school, which had been anticipated as a step toward post-revolution normality.
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  • But new clashes over the weekend between protesters and the military renewed the sense of uncertainty in the Egyptian capital.
  • "Parents are still scared," Salah said. Many students were stranded, she said, because the government asked schools not to run buses through the city. "There are not enough police on the streets."
  • Teachers raced to make up for a month of lost instruction, but the toppling of Mubarak came up in every class.

    "We've been talking about the revolution all day," said Ahmed Younes, 16. "We never used to talk about politics at all."

  • So she encouraged her teachers to embrace the news of the day, even though they are still teaching with textbooks that have long chapters glorifying the achievements of Mubarak and his party.
  • Egypt launched an attempt to modernize the curriculum in 2006, but observers say schools largely remain incompetent and fawning.
Teachers Without Borders

Education failures fan the flames in the Arab world « World Education Blog - 1 views

  • Education is a key ingredient of the political crisis facing Arab states. Superficially, the education profile of the region is starting to resemble that of East Asia. The past two decades have witnessed dramatic advances in primary and secondary school enrollment, with a step-increase in tertiary education. Many governments have increased public spending on education. The 7% of GDP that Tunisia invests in the sector puts the country near the top of the global league table for financial effort.
  • In Egypt, the education group most likely to be unemployed is university level and above, followed by post-secondary. Around one quarter of the country’s male university graduates are unemployed, and almost half of its female graduates.
  • For all the expansion of access and investment in education, the Arab states have some of the world’s worst performing education systems. The problems start early. In this year’s Global Monitoring Report we carry a table showing the distribution of performance across different countries in reading test scores at grade 4. In Kuwait, Qatar and Morocco, over 90% of students scored below the lowest benchmark, indicating that they lacked even basic comprehension.  In fact, these countries held the bottom three positions in a group of 37 countries covered.
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    • The median (or middle-performing) student in Algeria, Egypt and Syria scores below the low-benchmark; in Tunisia they score just above. In other words, half of the students in each country have gone through eight years of school to arrive at a level that leaves them with no working knowledge of basic math.
    • In Saudi Arabia and Qatar, over 80% of students fall below the low benchmark. The median student in both performs at around the same level as their counterpart in Ghana and El Salvador – and Qatar is the worst performing country covered in the survey.
  • Why are education systems in the Middle East and North Africa performing so badly? In many countries, teachers are poorly trained – and teaching is regarded as a low-status, last-resort source of employment for entrants to the civil service. There is an emphasis on rote learning, rather than solving problems and developing more flexible skills. And education systems are geared towards a public sector job market that is shrinking, and for entry to post-secondary education. Most don’t make it. And those who do emerge with skills that are largely irrelevant to the needs of employers.
  • Moreover, many Arab youth view their education systems not as a source of learning and opportunity, but as a vehicle through which autocratic rulers seek to limit critical thinking, undermine freedom of speech and reinforce their political control.
  • To a large extent, the protest movement across the Arab States has been led by educated youth and adults frustrated by political autocracy and limited economic opportunity. This has deflected attention from an education crisis facing low-income households in primary education – and from the needs of adolescents and youth emerging from school systems with just a few years of sub-standard education.
  • The Arab states have an unfinished agenda on basic education.  They still have 6 million primary school age children out of school – around 16% of the world’s total. Despite the vast gap in wealth between the two countries, Saudi Arabia has a lower primary school enrolment rate than Zambia. The Arab world also has some very large gender disparities: in Yemen, primary school enrolment rates are 79% for boys, but just 66% for girls.
  • Consider the case of Egypt. On average, someone aged 17-22 years old in the country has had around nine years of education. That’s roughly what might be anticipated on the basis of the country’s income. Scratch the surface, though, and you get a different picture: around 12% of Egyptians have had less than two years of education.
  • High dropout rates from primary and lower secondary school are symptomatic of parental poverty, poor quality education, and a sustained failure on the part of the Egyptian government to tackle the underlying causes of inequality. Adolescents from poor backgrounds entering labor markets without a secondary education are carrying a one-way ticket to a life of poverty, insecurity and marginalization.
  • The political crisis sweeping Arab states is the product of many years of political failure. The aspirations and hopes of young people – who are increasingly connected to each other and the outside world through the Internet – are colliding with an atrophied political system governed by complacent, self-interested elites who are disconnected from the population.
Teachers Without Borders

UNICEF - Egypt - Psycho-social support for children caught in violence on Egypt's streets - 0 views

  • CAIRO, Egypt, 18 FEBRUARY 2011 – UNICEF has launched a psycho-social support programme for children who were affected by violence during the uprising in Egypt in recent weeks.
  • According to preliminary figures announced by the Ministry of Health and by human rights organizations, 365 people – including 13 children, reportedly – were killed during the events in different governorates, and thousands of people were injured.
  • “In this psycho-social programme, we are preparing the teacher, the psychologist and the social worker to communicate actively with the children,” said Dr. Bahary. “This communication is based on listening and arts in order to give children a chance to express themselves accurately, and this of course will reduce their anxiety.”
Fred Mednick

ISRAEL: Researchers see Tunisia as a textbook revolution | Babylon & Beyond | Los Angel... - 0 views

  • an Israeli research group suggests Tunisia's was a textbook revolution. Not in the sense that it was a perfect storm or that it followed a certain formula -- no two revolutions are the same -- but in the sense that it may actually have begun in school textbooks.
  • A comprehensive study of the Tunisian curriculum, completed in 2009 and presented before the European parliament, found that education in Tunisia cultivates equality and is much more progressive in teaching tolerance than any other Arab country.
    • Fred Mednick
      Incredibly interesting!
  • The material still takes the Palestinian side in their conflict with Israel, researchers found, but not in a way that negates Jews or Israel. Above all, the study found the educational system to have a "profound understanding of equality and democracy."
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  • According to the group's research, Egypt is another story. With school curricula still very much under control of clerics and shaped largely by Muslim clerics and religious authorities, it does not encourage independent thinking and emphasizes war narratives, not peace. While textbooks do urge tolerance to minorities such as the Copts, according to the study, Manor says they have obliterated any mention of historic injustices they have suffered.
  • Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Belarus and even China should read the study when it comes out, as the data indicate they could be looking at civilian unrest in the near future, too. Jordan and Algeria, where democratization is low but the people's aspirations are likewise, appear to be more stable, according to the study.
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