Friday, 5 June 2009

GX Week 9

I've added photos to previous posts. How exciting that must be for you all!

Monday 18th May

Went on a trip out with Di from Catch 22 to some gardening at a home catch 22 have in Southend. It is run as a place of assisted living for children leaving care. I was saddened to learn that the project will probably be closing down soon as the council withdraw their funding. The young people will be put in hostels, yet again abandoned by the state. One young person living there had very poor english and the staff have been working constantly with him to improve it. Where will he get that kind of essential support living in a hostel? Our few hours in the garden were pretty productive, removing a massive pile of weeds. After we had finished in the garden we headed to the Southend sea front to show Olga the sea for the first time. She seemed reasonably impressed with Southend's poor offering. We then had a Rossi's icecream before retreating out of the wind back into the car. Back in Harlow we conducted our first meeting of the Russian-English club within Wetherspoons.

Gardening in Southend

Me and Olga by the sea. Love how there's a hooded youth in the background. Very appropriate for our placement!

Tuesday 19th May

After work I took the bus to the Rhodes Centre in Bishops Stortford to surprise Sarah on her birthday along with the rest of the team. After our somewhat failed attempt at surprise we went to the pub for a drink where I was yet again confronted by the pervy, alcoholic local. For dinner I ate traditional Kazak beshbarmak for dinner prepared by Gulnara.

Wednesday 20th May

I must be pretty unlucky. Another of my lessons was interpruted. This time by the arrival of two rather upset man whose windscreen had been smashed followed shortly by the police. I think that at least a little information about HIV and AIDS may have gone in though.

Thursday 21st May

God knows why I volunteered to be on the debrief committee. Like I need more things to do!

Friday 22nd May

Beth and Dinara's GCD on education. They were the first pair to actually create aims for their GCD, which were, 1) to think about and appricate the meaning and value of education. 2) To learn about the UN millennium development goal 2 and what action can be taken to achieve it. We began as has become the norm with thinking about some defintions.

Schooling: Government provided, compulsory basic, structured, basic knowledge, affected by wealth.

Defintion: The act of teaching at school. The process of being formally educated at school.

Learning: Intake and retention of information, self learning, unstructured, can take place in any environment, subconscious, for self development as opposed to gaining basic skills or qualifications, free, the foundation of being human.

Defintion: The cognitive process of acquiring skill or knowledge.

Literacy: Reading and Writing, affected by standard of living

Definition: The ability to read and write

Education: A right, societies system - education varies by type of society and time period (what it is thought that people need to know varies), science, analytical skills (as opposed to just memorising facts), life skills, qualifications, a system of control/indoctrination (has been used as such e.g. Nazi Germany), religious.

Definitions: The act or process of educating or being educated. The knowledge or skill obtained or developed by a learning process. Focus is on what is obtained.

After this we each drew pictures showing the influences onour education and attempted to put them in order of importance. Most people found this ordering difficult or impossible to do, me included. Nina said that people had had the greatest impact on her education. I think that everyone drew some people whether it be family, friends or specific teachers. For Aigera primary school was the most important as it was essential to moving on to the next stages of her education. Everything was built on that. Next we discussed whether we believe that we have had a good education or not. Ben questioned if he had been taught the 'right' or useful things. he complained that he was not given the opportunity to question his education. For example you are told not to colour outside the line, but why? He argued that school can be restraining, making everyone uniform (literally). In his picture Ben drew a face and coloured outside the lines. I wondered whether Gulnara is happy with her education, though she didn't say anything, as she complains about the difficulties of studying part time at university and of corruption in the education system. We discussed the difference between knowledge and skills, saying that lots of people leave school with knowledge (though some don't even leave with that) but not practical life skills. The topic also came us, as I find it often does when you talk about the UK education system of people being taught only to pass exams. The team also looked at whether people around the world have a different experience of education and whether the contributors are different. We agreed that not all people will receive a formal education. In some places it is a luxury. Most people however will learn basic life skills for survival from their family. Although being outside of the classroom, where new ideas can be disseminated, they may miss out on useful knowledge such as, sexual health and malaira prevention. Rory brought up the cultural differences citing countries where witch doctors still thrive and there is a fear of academia and of the sciences. Religion also plays a part, for example, some schools around the world do not teach the theory of evoluntion prefering christian creationism. The example of China's intensive exam and results driven system was also given as an example. I came joint 1st in the test we took next on global educational statistics. It was interesting to see how some of us (me included) regressed to naughty childlike behaviour when the desks were arranged in rows and we were given a test.

72 million children worldwide are unable to go to primary school. 66% of which are female.

Each one of these pictures represents one million children who will not go to school today

771 million adults worldwide are illiterate. 64% of which are female.

Youth literacy rate (under 16s)

Kazakhstan - 99.9%, Peru - 97.8%, Nepal - 78%, Niger - 38.1%

15 million new teachers are needed to achieve basic primary education for all by 2015.

$12.1 billion, 14% of total aid, was committed to education in 2007 (less than 2006). Of which $4.3 billion was for basic primary education.

Of all the children who attended primary school in mali in 2006 67% were male and 33% female.

Percentage of total government expenditure devoted to investment in education

USA - 13.7, Peru - 15.4%, Bangladesh - 14.2%, Niger - 17.6%

Percentage of GDP devoted to investment in education

USA - 5.3%, Peru - 2.5%, Bangladesh - 2.7%, Niger - 3.4%

In groups we looked at some cases studies. Ours was of Raheem in India who left school at 6 years old to so to work. he is noe part of a local project that allows children to work in the mornings and attend school in the afternoon. We talked about why Raheem didn't go to school. Because he had to work to support his family, and was proud of the money that he could bring home, legislation or lack of enforcement allows children to work, lack of welfare for poor families, inflexible education system that does not accommodate working children. The consequences of which were that Raheem missed out on education, friends, social contact with peers, playing sports and childhood. Lack of education also harms a childs future job prospects leading to a vicious circle in ehich they must in the future send their children work to work to boost their low wage. Globally nearly 250 million children have to work to help their families. Another of the case studies was of a child fleeing a conflict zone and therfore unable to attend school. The study ended with the quote that 'education breeds a more prosperous and peaceful society' which we debated. I argued that education breeding peace depends on its content again citing the example of Nazi Germany, in which the education system was exploited to spread Fascist values. In the same way that out educational system promotes democracy. Rory argued that with widepread education there can be no monopoly on enlightment or knowledge, reducing the control educated groups previously exercised along side discrimination and power imbalance. Though this assumes that the education delievered allows independent thought and dicussion. As said before education can be used as another system of control.

A right to education is Article 26 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Stating that education should be free and compulsory in elementary and fundamental stages.

The United Nations Millennium Development Goal 2 is that all children should receive a primary education by 2015.

After the GCD we hurried back to Harlow to prepare for a weekend at home in Norfolk. Mum came to Ilma's house to collect us for our weekend at home around 6 after getting lost in Harlow. We went straight out for dinner at a local pub where I wolfed down chips having missed them more than I realised. Back at home I made a beeline for my laptop and discovered to my joy that my MP3 player was still working after I'd managed to delete all my music.

Saturday 23rd May

Got up very early to go and get my hair cut. I had forgotten that people in my home town aren't used to people dressing remotely differently and wore the multi-coloured polka dot 1950s dress I made (see it here) with the result that on the way to the hairdressers a group of guys around my age asked 'are you going to a party?' which I ignored but later wished I had pointed out to them that at 8:15 in the morning I was far more likely to be coming back from a party. On the way out a young guy pushing a pram leered at me 'you alright love?' to which I smiled politely. Back at home I had to knock on the bedroom window to get mum to let me in having left without my keys and then waited around while mum and Gulnara got ready for the seaside. We took Gulnara to Holme to see the sea. Taking the scenic route as mum was convinced that she saw a queue to Hunstanton from Kings Lynn. At Holme we walked what seemed to be miles to the sea, which was at low tide, so we could paddle for about 5 minutes and take some pictures. Gulnara went off the idea of swimming when she realised how cold it was. Then picked our way barefooted back up the stone riddled beach. After losing our barings in the sand dunes and interupting a group of happy campers we made it back to the car park and had a bite to eat from the kiosk. We then drove over to Hunstanton to show Gulnara the cliffs and have an ice cream. Back at home I feel asleep for 3 hours until our BBQ dinner was ready. Gulnara and I spent what was left of the evening at a computer each guled to the internet. I was updating my blog!

Sunday 24th May

After a late start we went to the field so Gulnara could ride Tikit, my mums horse. Unfortunately she couldn't stay on for long as Tikit got restless. This may have been my fault as I was cantering her around before Gulnara got on. After Gulnara dismounted I had another go. Cantering around and dashing over a few jumps. Which I throughly enjoyed. Back at home Gulnara and I again retreated to the computers then I searched through my wardrobe for clothes and shoes suitable for the Kazakh summer. I left the majority of the winter clothes I brought to Harlow at home. Hoping England won't be too cold for the next 2 weeks and a bit!


Kate said...

Thought I would leave a comment as I dont think u have many yet :)
Love reading the blog, and think it's funny how much u seemed to enjoy your home comforts when u took Gulnara to Norfolk land!!
I also enjoy the GCD (what does that mean?) information each week - some very interesting and thought provoking statistics that you wouldn't necessary go searching for youself, but is something people should be aware of... also can i ask the difference between
'Percentage of total government expenditure devoted to investment in education'
'Percentage of GDP devoted to investment in education'
think it might be because I dont know what 'GDP' stands for - hope this doesn't make me look stupid!!

CatFish said...

Lol I just missed my laptop, how sad is that! GCD stands for Global Citizenship Day it's when our whole team gets together to learn about an issue. The counterpart pairs take it in turns to organise them. So you end up doing two, one in the UK and one in the exchange country. The difference is that total government expenditure is the amount of money the government spends. GDP stands for Gross Domestic Product it is a basic measure of an economy's economic performance, it is the market value of all final goods and services made within the borders of a nation in a year. So its basically the total imcome of the country. Hope that helps. I'm writing you a facebook message xx