Non-Violent Education – The Most Ignored Target

The UN has set a very challenging goal:

“By 2030, ensure that all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, including, among others, through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and nonviolence, global citizenship and appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution to sustainable development.(1)”

The New York Times reported on the abused children undergoing hate training in ISIS: “where counting was taught by the strokes of a whip; where watching public beheadings was part of the school curriculum; where his only role was to be molded into a future jihadi, or a “Cub of the Caliphate”(2). Sorrowfully, it is disturbing to point out that this indoctrination is still implemented by these terrorist groups at this very moment. The process of reintegration for these children poses a long term problem for all of us who are living in more liberal countries. However, this objective is not yet on the agenda, as homeland security only focuses on the risks that their parents might cause. Out of the targets that we must achieve by 2030, this might be the most ignored one. So what can we do when only a few in the world are aware of the problems raised by violent brainwashing?

Written by Colina Tran



What Will Your SwanSong Be?

What we do after retirement is one of the trickiest questions for us all. One option, lifelong learning, has been promoted in some countries as “elder education” has been proven to be tremendously beneficial to maintain healthy brains.

In developed countries, where there is a growing proportion of senior citizens, education programs have been designed to promote healthier and happier lives. They even include social interaction-based exercises. Some programs go so far as to bring in undergraduate students from around the world, such as the lifelong learning program at Semester at Sea (1). These courses help promote transgenerational inspiration and academic exchange.

In developing countries, intergenerational program models have not been adequately considered. In India, for example, adult learning objectives concentrate on literacy rather than on other outcomes. More initiatives are necessary to promote further educational aspirations within these program schemes.

Written by Colina Tran

Click to access uiestud36.pdf


Education is a Must

As a famous Turkish TV advertisement said a few years ago: “”Education is a must.”

In my previous posts, I wrote about the role and importance of learning. Of course, all of us can agree with the importance of education, so that’s why this post will be shorter.

Now, I want to share the literacy rates of the most developed and undeveloped countries in the world. When I say “development,” I don’t only mean in education; it includes education, economy, technology, culture, social life, purchasing power and politics as well.

The United States, Germany, New Zealand, Canada, Sweden and Switzerland are ahead in literacy (1) and development (2) for sure. But, on the bottom, we see Chad, Somalia, Afghanistan, and Niger (3). This cannot be a coincidence, can it?

As Nelson Mandela once said: “No country can really develop unless its citizens are educated.”

Written by Oguz Yilmazlar




What is it to be Educated?

I believe in the power of learning, but it must not just teach work, it must teach life. The majority of our world’s problems, mostly created by us, could be solved with a healthy school system. An appropriate question to ask then is: what do education systems actually focus on?

It depends on the country, but generally, we can say that stakeholders (teachers, students, schools, family, etc.) focus on exam marks, finishing school and then finding a job. Should a system be like this? Just marks, exams and work life? While math formulas, grammar, and biology are essential to knowledge, I believe there are more important things to teach/learn. For example, learning how to: say “good morning” and communicate effectively, interpret economics and understand why poor people are suffering, and why we need the support of others. Teachers should emphasise the importance of protecting the weak, how to play a role against injustice, and teach tolerance and respect for differing thoughts, opinions, and ways of life.

We can make this list longer and longer, but I would like to finish this post with a quote from Plato; “If a man neglects education, he walks lame to the end of his life.”

Written by Oguz Yilmazlar

Why Quality Education?

“Last September, the United Nations (UN) ratified 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to serve as benchmarks for every nation to ensure global prosperity, protection of the planet and an eradication of poverty.” (1) Goal four of the SDGs is the first time such a standalone education specific goal has been set and ratified. It is supposed to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning.

What exactly does Quality Education represent? I came across this stunning data: “170 million people could be lifted out of poverty if all students learned basic reading skills!” (2)

Let that sink in for a minute…

170 million – Population-wise, that’s equivalent to 30 countries the size of Serbia.

Moreover, higher education has the potential to be one of the most effective tools of public diplomacy to the world. “The most far-reaching way to link societies across the world is through education.” (3) The cherry on the top is that it is 100 percent self-sustainable inducing a neverending butterfly effect.

These statistics seriously left me dumbfounded, provoking thoughts of how I can more actively contribute. “A quality education is supported by three key pillars: ensuring access to quality teachers, providing use of quality learning tools and professional development, and the establishment of safe and supportive quality learning environments.” (4) In short, it prepares the child for life, not just for testing. Even my own country, which is kind of in development phase, is a far cry from this ideal state. Indeed, this is the goal the whole world should be involved in and work on more rapidly than ever before.

What do you think? Better still, how will you contribute to this goal? Do you consider it relevant?

Written by Petra Cvetanovic,-quality-education-for-every-child/


Social Networking: An Educational Platform?

Social media is everywhere, and more than two-thirds of individuals aged 16 or over have at least registered on one social media platform, the most popular being Facebook and Twitter. As these platforms have permeated into the means that we use to interact with each other, they help engage us. Nevertheless, there is always a fine line between giving too much information (spamming) and giving too little of it that may fail to keep us interested.

Maths lovers can now share their solutions and discuss their ideas with their peers, lecturers or even their parents via online social media platforms. The main benefit is evident as the information is available instantly to users with access to them. The problem is: how can they be integrated into the student learning process? Some schools already incorporate them into it, hoping to harness the potential of these learning tools thoroughly. However, if not managed carefully, these initiatives can deepen the digital divide between individuals in classrooms, instead of the intended outcome.

According to many studies, lower income families spend considerably more of their time on the Internet playing games, watching videos, or connecting on social networking sites. This tendency is because educators do not teach them how to use technology in more productive ways.

Gaining one useful educational model (or many) via online social networking can help bridge the gap between regions substantially, but the answer may be different for individual nations. What is your self-approach to social media? Also, what are your thoughts on the matter of having it as an educational platform?

Written by Colina Tran

Sources: (extracted 21st April, 2017) (extracted 21st April, 2017)

Click to access osaga_mburu_alibina_11027.pdf

Role of Private Schools in an Education System

Today, I would like to write about the role of private schools in public presenting the good and bad sides of these schools as a previous employee of a private school.

I guess the first question should be: if a country has an exceptional education system, should private schools exist at all? When we compare the best countries for public education (1) with their private school rankings (2), we can infer that if a state has a robust system, private school ranks decrease. For example, Germany and Switzerland have 96% public education and 4% private schooling with them ranking 3rd and 6th best in the world respectively. Likewise, the UK has 93% and 7% ranking 2nd.

One of the aims of a state is to give a rounded education to children. It must be moral and equal. However, there are many differences between public and private schools (3), and this situation creates inequality. Children compete on different terms with each other. Moreover, we cannot expect that these conditions grant them equality during their life. Same exams, same universities but different paths.

One more thing I can write about is the influence of parents on teachers. Not surprisingly, teachers feel pressured to give high grades to students at private schools. Parents demand this because they think that private schools should do it. They do not accept their child’s failure. Hence, teachers do not want to come face to face with parents. What’s more, teachers get harassed not to give chores like disposing of garbage, carrying desks, or cleaning classrooms to their children. Some mothers and fathers think that their children should not be pushed to do laborious activities.

On the other hand, some authorities support (with money) low-income family children to go to private schools. Should they do it? Should governments allocate funds for this or, instead of this, should they make public schools stronger? (4) We can never ignore the quality of private school facilities that public schools are stretched to provide. The former can have ice hockey pitches, swimming pools, small classes, better labs, better foreign language education and so on.

Maybe the last question to ask could be whether a student can improve and become capable under any conditions? How many talents come from schools? Does it matter whether a student is in a private or public institution? Alternatively, should one just self-educate?

Written by Oguz Yilmazlar

One of the Roles of Education is to Awaken the Power of Creativity

In the spring of 2005, a place called Death Valley experienced an extraordinary phenomenon. The driest, hottest place in America, was carpeted in flowers for a while. How come? Everyone thought that Death Valley was dead – hence the name. As it turns out, Death Valley isn’t so. It’s dormant. Right beneath the surface, there were seeds of possibility waiting for the right conditions to come to life. The outgrowths, after the rain in 2004, were inevitable.

In April 2013, Ken Robinson released a Ted Talk (1) in which he elaborated how the educational system should work and the science behind it. In it, he mentioned an interesting issue: America was struggling with school dropouts at the time, for sure it still is, so he asked Finland how they approached the problem. They answered in two very short sentences: “We don’t have any. Why would you want to drop out?”

Four years later, the Swedish education system made a stunning turnaround, springing a revolutionary new era in education. There they have tools, evaluations and science to improve the quality of instruction; furthermore, the whole country is testing the system as we speak. Besides a few other countries only just starting to follow, why is Sweden the only country doing so?

Tell us your thoughts about education in your part of the world. Is AIESEC helping in this revolution? It is never too late to fulfil the fourth Sustainable Development Goal: Quality Education.

Written by Petra Cvetanovic