Sunday, June 5, 2011

2011 Moore Shilleto Submission

Expanding World Views: Education in Developing Countries

            We cannot truly take control of our lives without being ourselves, and we cannot affirm our own identities without first learning what we ourselves believe in as individuals. Through an educational system, individuals in society are provided with the fundamental means needed to bring forth a more productive lifestyle, and ultimately, more prosperous life as a whole. Unfortunately, though many of the human beings dispersed widely throughout the continents engage in everyday educational activities, other individuals, societies, and even countries are not so fortunate in that they lack the monetary funding for even the most basic learning programs. With this in mind, I believe that developed countries have an obligation to their less developed nations to ensure that all individuals are entitled to at least a basic form of learning and insight. However, I believe there should be a few conditions regarding the funding: Developed countries should be responsible for funding the educational system, and educational advisors should be expected to create the specific learning materials, ensuring that the cultural aspects of the developing country’s citizens do not be overlooked or covered up. Also, I believe that once more educated citizens in the developing countries find means to stimulate their economy, the developed countries should slowly move out of the program, allowing the developing countries to learn to maintain their own programs and organizations.

            Though I firmly believe that developed countries should assist their developing counterparts, there is always the condition of when to quit providing funding. However, considering the fact that knowledge and education is an invaluable resource, funding for such a program is something that should not be halted. Therefore, developing countries should only cease their assistance once the receiving country has the means to continue the educational programs on their own. Through this, not only will the country be able to continue providing access to education for all its citizens, but also, the country will begin to learn the techniques needed to sustain their own organizations, a skill that will benefit them countless times in the years to come. In addition, the educational programs could also be used as means to stimulate that country’s economy, providing for even more advantage. Then, not only would the developing country be able to create and influence its own culture with the concept of enlightenment, but also, the citizens would be able to contribute feedback and take control, allowing for both the implementation of program maintenance, as well as a stimulant for their own economy, resulting in greater financial stabilization.

            Putting the financial aspect of the educational implementation aside, there is another condition that can be brought into perspective that is crucial to the learning system’s success. In regards to the content material being taught, there is always a risk that the material creator’s opinions and beliefs may be forced upon the recipient of knowledge, making it so that the receiving individual’s opinions may not actually be of their own choice. Through this, education is not being used to help make people more confident in their own identities, but rather, the receiving end becomes a sponge, obtaining any information that the influencer enforces. Considering the Residential schools of the 19th century in Canada, where natives became forced out of their own cultural backgrounds and ways of life for the sole purpose of blending in with mainstream Canadian society, we do not want to force our own lifestyle and beliefs upon a culture once again. When creating the material to be learned in a developing country, the subject matter must be understanding and respectful toward the specific culture of the target individuals. If this criteria is met, the people will then be able to retain information to form their own values and beliefs, all while still maintaining the aspects of their culture that form the other portion of their identity.

            The power of knowledge and education is an irreplaceable tool that carves away the unknown and assists us in countless ways to forge our own futures the way we see fit. As no man or woman is more or less equal than the last, the ability to acquire understanding and use it to benefit oneself is something that every human being should be blessed with, regardless of where the individual resides. So long as developed countries who contribute to the educational systems of developing countries ensure the prevention of cultural masking, then financial assistance is a viable solution. Also, considering the possible likelihood of financial dependency, a limit should be placed on the amount of monetary assistance being provided to the developing countries once said countries begin to establish the means to provide for themselves and create a sustainable educational fund for themselves. With a wider variety of people originating from unique lifestyles sharing their own insight with the rest of the world, especially with a new foundation of learning, the potential for discovering new concepts in any given field will be even more likely than ever before, and in doing so, a better future will be created for all human society as a whole.

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