Why We Need More Diversity in Schools?

At a time of social and political disarray, the migrant crisis burst the bubble of xenophobes across Europe. Of course there were also positive arguments stating that there are numerous benefits not only in offering aid to the downtrodden but to accepting them into our community. Below we consider a number of advantages to diversity in a community by taking a closer look at the case of education. When we speak of diversity we do not only speak of race but religion, gender, and socio-economic background too.

Knowledge and Tolerance

A student that undergoes education amongst a culturally diverse classroom quite naturally has the advantage of learning about multiple cultures and enhances her general knowledge. Imagine if each student brings along a snippet of his or her country’s culture on a daily basis, then surely by the first semester one would have amassed a compendium of cultural, historical and political knowledge.

The more nationalities in the classroom, the broader the education. Moreover, racially diverse classrooms diminish xenophobic or racist ideologies. Upon socializing with different ethnicities children begin to formulate a much more positive image of their fellow human beings and hence become more tolerant.

Creativity and Cooperation

 

Yet another benefit to diversity in schools is to prepare the children for the workplace. The early exposure to social queues and cultural sensitivities prepares the child for later collaboration in enterprises that most certainly encourage diversity in the workplace. An environment that encourages a different set of skills in order to accomplish tasks increases productivity immensely.

According to Forbes online, “research on creativity and innovation has been consistent in showing the value of exposing individuals to experiences with multiple perspectives and worldviews. It is the combination of these various perspectives in novel ways that result in new ideas popping up.” Hence, diversity is conducive to blistering creativity both in and out of the classroom.

Having diversity in the workspace at the early stages in a child’s life builds bridges to other countries and makes the world their oyster. In fact, I have made many friendships that enabled me to visit wonderful places all over the world. I guess you could say the world became a smaller place and each year I would make sure to meet my buddies in a new place whether it was in Asia or in Europe.

International Schools

The usual culturally diverse educational hub in every country is commonly called an international school. International schools flaunt the number of nationalities they have – at times they have up to 50 different countries! They have every right in doing so since they most certainly wish to develop global citizens from a very early age. The International Baccalaureate is exactly the kind of programme that does this.

The only downside in countries is that private schools seem to offer such an educational upbringing that is usually only available to children of workers from the upper echelons of management, seldom for those that would normally apply for public schooling. But what can change? We may promote diversity in public schooling in order to gain those benefits already mentioned. Some consciousness raising is needed in order to change the current status quo if we want to instigate change, but it’s possible.

Female Education Around the World

There are many benefits of female education, both for the girls and for the entire society. Educated girls have a healthier life, more opportunities, higher earnings, and their skills and competence can significantly contribute to the global economic growth.

However, there are still big systemic barriers preventing millions of girls across the world from having access to safe and quality primary and secondary education. Today, more than 130 million girls are out of schools. Whereas in Europe and North America girls have recently outperformed boys by the number of higher education diplomas and success in school, girls face discrimination especially in the world’s poorest countries, mostly from Sub-Saharan Africa, where the gender gap is also the highest.

Major Obstacles

Major obstacles to girls’ access to education include household responsibilities, poverty, cultural norms that prioritise boys’ education, early marriage, lack of safety in and around schools, sexual harassment and violence, and lack of basic resources and bad hygiene in schools.

Teen pregnancy is also an obstacle for many girls. For example, Tanzania, Equatorial Guinea, and Sierra Leone expel pregnant girls from schools. In contrast, boys who are the fathers are generally not expelled.

Below are some examples of gender gap in education around the world.

Chad

Chad is the lowest ranked country in terms of closing the education gender gap, according to the World Economic Forum report. This country has an extremely low literacy rate, with only 31.33% of men and 13.96% of women being able to read. The gap in primary school enrollment sits at 21%.

Afghanistan

Afghanistan, the country that still suffers the consequences of a devastating civil war, girls often don’t have a place to go to school. Instead, they study in tents or in the street, while classrooms are mostly reserved for boys. Most girls drop out of school by the time they are 15 and only 37% of them are literate, compared to 66% of boys. Many get married very early or must find work to help their families survive. Sometimes, families don’t believe that girls should study or fear for their safety.

Pakistan

In Pakistan, where only 70% of men and 46% of women are literate, the wake-up call came in 2012 when a 14-year-old Malala Yousafzai was shot and almost killed because she wanted to go to school. She became the voice of a generation of Pakistani girls who are denied education because of traditional gender roles are being forced upon them.

STEM fields

The gender gap in education exists even in economically developed countries. Girls are significantly under-represented in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Deeply rooted gender stereotypes discourage girls from pursuing these fields of study. Many countries are already actively working on changing the mindset that favours boys in STEM fields, but only 35% of young women today choose these career paths.

These examples and many more show that there is still much to be done to promote and improve access to education for millions of children all over the world.

How We Learn as Adults

“Small groups of aspiring adults who desire to keep their minds fresh and vigorous; who begin to learn by confronting pertinent situations; who dig down into the reservoirs of their secondary facts; who are led in the discussion by teachers who are also seekers after wisdom and not oracles: this constitutes the setting for adult education the modern quest for life’s meaning.” Continue reading “How We Learn as Adults”