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Wanted: Your Views on Education

Saadia Iqbal's picture

Children share notes in school. Photo: Christina Lakatos © The World BankIn a recent interview, Robert Hawkins, executive producer of the EVOKE game, said that one of the issues which inspired the game's creation was "the need to reform education to create 21st century skills and move away from rote." 

This really struck me because rote, or memorization, was something that plagued a large part of my schooling. Rather than being encouraged to think critically and form our own ideas and opinions, we were told to simply memorize everything in the textbooks. We were tested not on our analytical or creative skills, but on how sharp our memories were. Legend had it that one girl in my school had opened and concluded a homework assignment with a word-for-word answer from the book, but filled the middle part with the lyrics of Michael Jackson's Bad. She got an A.

I have since discovered that many people from around the world -- both developed and developing countries -- have faced similar scenarios in school. What about you? Was memorizing a big part of your schooling? Was critical thinking encouraged? If not, do you wish things had been different?

If you're interested in the role of education in development, then now is a good time to speak up. The World Bank is shaping its new Education Strategy, which will form its plan of action for helping improve education in developing countries over the next 20 years. The Bank specifically wants input from youth around the world: how do you see education in your country? How can it be improved? What role can the Bank play?

This is your chance to make a difference, so don't waste it! Fill out the form with your answers, and be part of the change.


Submitted by afolayan kikelomo on
As a youth educator in a developing country (Nigeria) I am inspired to drop these few lines as my contribution towards shaping a more efficient educational system. I wish to state that most of the tools and techniques for passing across knowledge to students especially in public schools are really stale; little wonder going to school on a daily basis is seen as a boring activity for many of them, and a necessary evil in pursuit of your career goals in life. However In a bid to reform the system there is need to urgently engage in provision of educational infrastructures and modern training facilities, train and retrain teachers at all levels of the educational systems (primary, secondary and tertiary) with up-to-date skills and also review all training curriculums to incorporate action learning to meet 21st century challenges through the use of interesting games, role-plays, case studies, group discussions, field visits and hands on experience, exchange program in other countries for students that makes learning fun and encourages problem solving mindset, creative, critical and analytical thinking. As a against the conventional methods of using blackboards, outdated-textbooks and memorizing, students with different learning styles can adapt to the varieties of teaching methods. I remembered how much I disliked mathematics/accounting and any course that involved figures or calculating in my secondary school days, this phobia stayed with me until when I had the opportunity to attend a Financial Management training organized by a company based in UK, the teaching method was fascinating and fun as it incorporated games, group work, role-plays. After the training I made a conclusion that the fear I had for accounting was really traceable to the outdated teaching methods then which made the subject very uninteresting to me. Another major challenge these deficiencies in educational system is creating in the society is the production of half-baked graduates who se level of education cannot match up with the challenges organizations are seeking to employ them to solve, hence they are usually termed

Submitted by Michael Boampong on
At the age of 18 when I was about to complete high school I attended a seminar on 'Building the Capacity of Youth for the 21st Century'. At the event I realized that the 21st century presents both opportunities and challenges. I realized that most young people whom I have met and interacted with did not know the real meaning of 'Education' in its broadest and most comprehensive sense. I believe that a global education needs to be something more than just classes and lessons learned. It's about researching, discussing, and taking action on some important issues that can be dealt with using minimal resources. For some people whom I met the challenge for them was that they did not have the information to enable them to take action. As a result of this experience, having completed my secondary school education, I decided to take a year off before attending college to pursue my dream of creating a youth-led programme that would inform, educate and empower youth to change the world. When i entered University and even after completing University i have come to realized that education in Ghana is not one that stimulates young people mind to enable them to critique and question the status quo and initiate new ideas for existing situations. My understanding of education is something that reaches beyond school walls and engages the community, that challenges students to create, to criticize and to look for solutions that will tackle current global issues at the local level, with community leaders accepting young people as important partners in addressing the current global challenges. I think the World Bank must support Global Development Education in schools. Try to bring governments and other stakeholders who matter on education together to sensitize them on the need for development education and the need to promote young people participation in development issues through application of what has been learnt in the classroom.

Submitted by skp on
gettin a education in school such as diploma and certificates are always a wonderfull way of feeling accomplished, but now that the youth today are changing and wanting to expand their learning ability to bigger and better. classrooms and text books are always going to be the same as the youth changes. and not every youth can learn memorize and repeat. i always thought that teachers now a days have a high expectation on students of all ages. we all don't learn the same and memorize the same.

Submitted by Chocolate Thunder on
I completely agree with the fact that education shouldn't be based mostly on memorization. Also doing all of the work in the classroom all the time gets pretty boring also, especially if its worksheets that are always similar to each to each other, us students nowadays need spunk in our school life, we need variety, and considering how brains react better to different learning styles, and how some brains learn better through certain styles, i feel as if the schools should imply a program that teaches us students on all sorts of levels such as visually, auditory, and tactile, instead of just basic old memorization. The education nowadays is dull and boring, the only reason i believe people graduate nowadays, is based on there ambition to do something good with their life. What about the students who don't have a life plan yet and hate school? Chances are that they will drop out before they get a chance to graduate. I believe there is something that we can do to help these kind of students. If the World Bank is willing to contribute, I say that they should help fund a program where the school can imply more activities and programs that apply all 3 learning types (visually, auditory, and tactile). This would spice up the school system quite a bit, and more students will be willing to go to school because they will see it as fun. I hope that you consider this as an option, I'm sure a lot of people will appreciate it, and I'm positive that there will be a lot to show for it.

Submitted by Robert on
I couldn't agree it more that education should allow us to think by ourselevs,not tell us how to do.Too many princles in texts,in schools.For example a of head long hair for boys an earings for girls are allowed here.And for teachers,waht the teachers here all think about is that send students to a college,the more famous,the better.So,students here are buried with countless homework that the rarely have time to experience or discover anything.Even though we doubt something in the texts,but just because it is in the text,you can't oppose.Ridiculously,teachers here say,'even if it was wrong,you had to obey it.' They don't take it seriously that what to do to help students grow healthily.Can you imagine that there are a certain number of kids die because of the carelessness of teachers and their parents,and many teens take their lives because of high pressure from school?I belive that schools are the places that teach people more than teach grades.

Submitted by aman,ritu,saba,chetna,vivek,manpreet on
Education is the means by which a person can acquire knowledge but it should not be confined to reading textbook only. There should be practical exposure to enhance the skills and personality of a person . In present scenario it is not only the knowledge but the practical exposure and quality of education which matters a lot . So an education system should be versatile to meet the present requirements.

Submitted by Merda Mangajun on
I personally have been so sad with our education system in Indonesia. Most of it steal youth from their unique character, talent and does not based on good characteristic. How do u think we could fight for corruption if the education itself encouraged us to do so. Emphasizing on memory leads on similar way of thinking. It is almost like brain washing education system. speaking of books, the government of Indo change the book every single year only by changing on some words or one page of the book, this is a very cruel corruption.

Submitted by Øystein H. on
I agree with you! I find it rather peculiar that this phenomenon actually is so widespread throughout school systems in countries all around the world. Even after much thought, I still can’t think of any sensible reason why children should need to memorize textbook pages word by word when there are so much more important things to focus on in school. Isn’t it more useful to be able to think critically, form your own ideas and opinions and learn how to express your creative skills? I’m of opinion that this way of educating children is much healthier both for the children as well as for the society itself. We don’t need a society were all think the same as the Establishment. I’m a boy at age 17 from Norway. In fact, when it comes to memorization in school, it hasn’t been a big part of my schooling. Of course we’ve been told to learn things by heart on several occasions, but mainly the teachers have emphasized how good you are to express yourself, whether you are able reflect on different matters, and how independent you are in order to make up your own opinions. Of course all this depends on the subject you are studying. Obviously there is more focus on reflection in social studies than in math.