Monthly Archives: May 2014

The Mandate of Education in Development

Niño brazos en alto

Education has a mandate in socioeconomic development! Especially in economically unstable regions, the implementation of new productive endeavors or innovative methods requires a time consuming learning process. In underdeveloped regions of the world, much of the effort of outside experts is consumed in teaching basic concepts and simple mathematic operations instead of implementing the necessary modernization.

Typically, these development projects are implemented in close proximity to a local school. These schools, as part of the “formal educational system” use standardized lessons which are often completely divorced from community needs and employment opportunities. This void easily reaches a point where the focus on the hypothetical leaves students unprepared for real-world situations. This situation actually disempowers people and generates passivity in the face of personal and shared challenges.

The mandate is to bridge this gap between education given and the knowledge needed, if we are to see positive change in socioeconomic statistics. A first step is to merge the activities of education and development so that obstacles to growth become areas of study in the school. Next, outside technical assistance must be made available through the school, which amplifies coverage, lessens time spent on basic concepts and takes advantage of potent youthful energy. This merging of activities enhances the quality of each by providing purpose and motivation for each.

Unfortunately, the intent of creating equal opportunity through the standardization process, while claiming different degrees of success in different places, in general failed completely throughout economically stagnant regions of the world. The wholesale training of an employee class, and then sending them out into a jobless situation, is counterproductive. Opportunity lies in entrepreneurship and the application of creativity to specific local circumstances.

Amún Shéa, a school in the Morazán province of El Salvador, has accepted this mandate and has taken on the challenge of merging education and development. It is a unique but proven educational project, designed to combat the self-perpetuating underdevelopment that is endemic to the region. It is working to stop this repetitive cycle through human development which focuses on changing attitudes, building real-world skills and creating opportunity for realization of hopes, dreams and goals.

It is gratifying and provides hope to see endeavors similar to Amún Shéa developing quietly throughout the world. It makes the future brighter. Be a part of it!