Education is an essential part of growing up, and indeed, we continue to learn throughout our lives. However, from the most basic lessons like walking and talking through to learning to read, write, understand numbers and get to know the world around us, there is plenty to learn during the first few decades of our lives.
Despite this, access and attitudes to education around the world vary drastically between different countries and regions. Some countries place huge importance and great value on education, whereas others simply do not have the resources available to be able to offer an education to every child. Some are very community-minded, yet others prefer to keep the school environment separate from the rest of daily life.
However, we can all learn from these differences and use them to influence the way that we teach our own children, wherever we are in the world.
Sustainability is a big focus in Scandinavia, a fact which also extends to the education system in the region. One particular school to use as a sustainable case study is the Copenhagen International School (CIS) in Denmark’s capital city.
Sustainability is at the heart of this school’s ethos, with the institution aiming to eventually become 100% sustainable. Attractive and contemporary, including features such as solar panels and sustainable playground equipment, this school could teach us a lot about the importance of looking after the environment and going green.
Many Japanese schools have a novel, yet highly effective, solution to the issue of cleanliness in schools. Instead of employing cleaning staff, the students are expected to clean their school themselves. Time for cleaning is allocated into their school day on a regular basis, ensuring that students learn the importance of cleanliness and leave school with a solid knowledge of how to clean and use cleaning products – an important life skill.
In addition, they are more likely to be considerate and mindful of the school environment if they know they may have to clean up any mess they make later! While this may not be practical for schools worldwide, it is a brilliant example of how students can be taught to respect their surroundings while working together to ensure a clean, inspiring environment.
The South American country of Guyana may not seem like an obvious addition to this list, but what the country may lack in funding and infrastructure, it more than makes up for in community spirit. In rural Guyana, it’s not uncommon for the entire community to get involved with education, helping to organise extra-curricular activities and encourage each child to succeed.
In other parts of the world where schools are so strictly segregated from daily life and the community, there is much to learn about the power of community involvement.
Bangladesh is a country which regularly sees natural disasters and struggles with the environment. Flooding is particularly common in Bangladesh thanks to its location and geographic properties, not to mention the fact that 70% of the country is less than one metre above sea level. However, even the very real threat of flooding doesn’t stop Bangladeshi children from going to school!
These people have found creative ways to keep access to education afloat, quite literally, by building flood-proof schools on boats! While this is just one example, we could all stand to learn from the dedication and commitment that the Bangladeshi people have when it comes to education.
The world is an incredibly diverse place, and we should all endeavour to share our knowledge in order to provide the best possible learning environment for the next generation. Our children are our future; isn’t it about time that we invested in their future, too?