Friday, 21 November 2008

Write or Wrong

Wow.. we've moved house for the third time in 18months, this time hopefully we can stay where we are. Its cheaper, smaller, easier to keep clean, on the side of a hill and currently when its hitting 5 degrees celsius outside a house with a tin roof is bloody freezing!! Thank heavens for hotwater bottles and brothers who bring them over. We've yet to gain the luxury of an inside loo, but with a view of half the city and surrounding mountains thrown in i can live without a warm seat in the morning.

The house is also about two blocks away from our fav cafe, which is great from a buying coffee and chocolate perspective and also the fact that they love hugging Emilia and take her off my hands for half an hour when i pop in for a brew.
The people that own the cafe have been ace since we moved here, always giving us a slice of free cake when we celebrate something and its good to have a mummy winge to the owners wife, somehow i don't feel so guilty when its another mum who has just as many problems as well, i feel it's allowed to complain. Anyhooo.. i was chatting to the girl Mari behind the counter and talking about school, her younger sister works in the cafe and i noticed she is of school age (13yrs), Mari told me she simply wasn't interested in school so she didn't go, when i asked if she could read and write she replied "more or less". In a country where its not compulsory to be educated attitudes to education differ greatly, especially where girls are concerned. It made me ponder.... What is education? Where and how do we really receive it? Who sets the agenda?

A woman once said to me that she thought young people should be removed from school at the beginning of adolescence and put to work until 18 when they may have an interest in actually learning something, although a generally sweeping statement with my own experience of working with 'da' yut' both here and in England, and Arturo's recent work as a high school teacher i am very tempted to agree. As a mum, i'm not quite sure of my position, i feel maybe Emilia will learn more at home and from her world outside than any education institution. Lets face it, if she were in England the teachers would be so busy filling in ofsted paperwork that they wouldn't have time to teach her anything, and here in Mexico, well considering about 80% of qualified teachers recentely failed a govt. basic skills exam, i'm not sure what she's due to learn!!

After the reading, writing and 'rithmatic bit what do we actually get from the system? Disregarding the questionable social skills and community conforming....
Culturally speaking education around the world; actually i change that to school rather than education as the two are argubly very different things. School around the world tends have basically the same set up due to countless imperialism of the leading nations ooooohhh many years ago, not accounting for the different lives children and young people around the world lead everyday. If you are a child or young person that works to support either yourself or your family, what subjects do you really need? What has life taught you that a text book can't? The math skills of any child i've ever met selling in the market or street can match that of any British GCSE student (do GSCE's still exist?). And the parerenting, cooking, DIY and farming skills of any child or young person supporting siblings can never be taught in a classroom, what use have these young people to learn about the position of the moon, basic chemistry or food technology??? I'm not saying that the right to 'school' should be denied to anybody, in any place. I just wonder whether the schooling in place is actually of any use or it just makes western governments and developing charities feel like they're doing some good in far flung places.

Whe Mari and her sister can read, write, run a small business feed and cloth themselves what use would a archaic secondary education be?

I myself have no high school qualifications more than 3 gcse's (university career not withstanding), my dad (love you dad) has even less, my mum, nan and women of my family all write beautifully and live with the hidden wisdom of all great women not certificates.... and yet we and most of all the other people who have positively effected my life are amongst the most intelligent, strong and sensible people i know!!