Wednesday, November 15, 2006

the problem with our education system

My school in saudi was the best a person could ask for. All its staff were either american or british since the school was funded by the american army (it was right after the gulf war and the number of americans in saudi was greatly increasing which required them to have their own schools ofcourse). Also, almost all the students were either fully or half american, except for a small percentage (including me) which had to find a really good "wasta" to let them in. This great number of foreigners around me was what really taught me the english language.

The school itself was amazing. I was recently watching old video recordings of me practicing a presentation i had to do infront of my class about "Chicago, Illinois"and how it was one of the most important cities in the USA. I was doing that presentation in the 2nd grade! Doing a presentation infront of 20 students and my teacher, learning how to talk out loud and not be shy when i'm only in the second grade...that's good education. Forcing the kids to attend Sports Day every year, where they had to run one whole mile in less than 10 minutes (i remember once almost beating the record of 6 min 20 sec) is good education. Making the kids take part in school plays where the students do all the acting, choreography, decoration and music (teachers only wrote the script and directed the plays) is good education. Giving the students the chance to be in a school band once they're in 5th grade where they learn how to play a "classic" instrument (the clarinet, flute, trumpet, saxophone, trombone, etc...) is good education. I remember actually passing the test and being picked to learn the trombone when i reached 5th grade. Only a small number of lucky students got to be in this school band and all the students dreamt of joining it. I was foolish enough to quit after 3 weeks, and the funny thing is, i don't remember why.

The curriculums themselves were really educating and beneficial. They resorted to teaching methods which required creativity, not memorizing, for a student to succeed. I remember once we had an assignment in science class that required us to build a miniature submarine that floats and sinks upon request without touching it. I happened to get the best grade in class in that assignment after i used a drinking straw to blow air into the submarine, which increased its weight and therefore made it sink....that was in the 4th grade.

I've got uncountable memories in that school making me feel happy and sad at the same time. I feel sad because I doubt the regular egyptian boy will ever get to experience this kind of education in the near future. This is the kind of elementary school Egypt needs. Screw high school...screw college... no one learns anything in them anyways. The egyptian government should spend as much money as it could to provide the education that will really make a difference in its childrens' lives. I'm not sure if all american schools are like this or not, but i'm sure that a great deal of them are of this high standard of education, and i'm guessing most european schools are like that too.

The government should force people to pay big money in college (unless you have exceptionally high grades) and put some of that money in funding the elementary schools. No more free education in college. No one is learning because of it, poor or rich. Our "governmental" universities are pathetic and useless, and its mainly because of this stupid idea of providing their services for free. This results in having absolutely no equipment at all... can you imagine studying architecture without a computer lab for God's sake?!!! We're still using T-rulers and compasses in college when everyone knows you won't see them again once you graduate...all architectural firms in egypt and around the world are using computer software to generate their drawings, why do architecture students learn it the old fashion way? no money, that's why! The professors don't work full time because their salaries wouldn't feed a dead chicken, so they have to rely on their own firms for money.

So if people paid alot of money in college, the educational system will improve greatly... those who do not have that kind of money should either earn scholarships by getting high grades in school, or not get into universities at all, they could enter intitutes or other lower educating places. yes its unfair. but having 1 person learn right is better than having 2000 not learning at all.

Ok, so what i'm saying here is that elementary schools should remain free for everyone, but their educating quality should increase greatly. There should be no such thing as private schools and governmental schools...they should have the same teaching standard and quality. The government should cancel the "free university education" program and put that money into elementary schools. People should pay extra money if they want their kids to attend universities.

Now i know that this only solves the financial part of our educational system's problem, but that's actually a big part of the whole dilemma. Also i know that we already have private universities that have high tuition rates, but that money doesn't help the whole system in any way...i'm talking about the government saving money from the "free education system" program in its universities so that it could provide better education in the elementary level for the whole public.