Retrouvez ici le nouveau numéro d’English Corner, votre rendez-vous anglophone avec Mark.
Skool’s in fer Winta
This week saw, for some, the traumatic experience of going back to class after two months away from the intense learning cycle that is the school year. Class size changes were implemented as a result of the campaign promises made by the President and 4-day working weeks re-introduced in some communes to help balance the books and re-inject funds into extracurricular activities. However, as a nation, we do not seem to be able to climb in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) ratings when others are maintaining constantly good scores. Have you ever wondered why Scandinavian and Asian countries are above us and that New Zealand are inevitably good at rugby? Their education systems are fundamentally different and believe that ‘less is more’. The school days are shorter and more restful with certain countries taking as much as 20 minute breaks between lessons. Afternoon physical activities are obligatory and homework is reduced to a minimum. The children have time to be children and in a certain way they follow the Animal Kingdom’s educative credo of ‘learning by playing’. Some countries, mainly African, are profoundly lacking in access to basic reading and writing skills and higher education is extremely limited. It has been shown that if mothers have an elementary academic level, their children will probably survive beyond the age of 5. International Literacy Day on the 8th of September has the theme this year of ‘Literacy in a digital world’, which is understandable when the dematerialisation of documents and declarations are becoming ever more the ‘norm’. However, what about those African and South American children that have to walk for hours to get to school or cross dangerously deep gorges in a bucket on an aerial runway to learn ABC or that 2 and 2 make 4. Education is a right. Let’s not waste it and have a good time in school.