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Education_Crisis_ResponseIn the past twenty years, education rates in Nigeria have been the center of change, but not always for the better. After years of educational prosperity, rates dramatically dropped to approximately 70 percent in 2008, and continue to be low today.

Creative, an international development organization has created a program to boost education in Nigeria. According to the organization, “the three-year Nigeria Education Crisis Response program works to expand access to quality learning opportunities for displaced, out-of-school children and youth ages 6 to 17.”

Creative has joined forces with more than 30 Nigerian organizations as well as traditional and religious leaders in order to enhance efforts. Following this pattern has helped to provide safe and accessible classes as well as increase community support.

The organization notes that “using a proven curriculum, the displaced children receive basic education, with an emphasis on math and literacy. In addition, the centers provide vital psychological and social services to the often traumatized pupils—many of whom have witnessed horrendous acts of violence.”

Another key element to the Education Crisis Response Program is the class size and finding individuals who gain training to become teachers. These teachers are found in the communities where displaced children reside, then trained in order to prepare them for the hard task of helping traumatized children catch up.

One of these teachers, Jummai Dauda, said on the subject, “When I started with them, most of them have forgotten almost everything they had been learning in their schools, because when they came, they cannot read, they cannot write.”

“The type of education they do receive is a good one,” says Halilu Usman Rishi of Bauchi’s State Education Secretariat. “That is going to [pave the] way for them to mainstream to a formal system of education.” The goal to mainstream students by has been scheduled for 2017.

In order for this to happen, the program has enlisted and trained government officials to continue on once the program phases out.

Katherine Martin

Sources: World Bank, Creative Associates International 1, Creative Associates International 2, Creative Associates International 3, USAID
Photo: Wikimedia

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The Global Poverty Project was founded by Ananya Roy, a professor of city and regional planning at Berkeley, Tara Graham, an International and Area Studies lecturer and digital-media expert and Abby VanMuijen, an artist with the goal of spreading the curriculum of Berkeley University’s most popular minor, Global Poverty and Practice. The three UCal alumni are utilizing digital media and twitter to create a multilayered broadly accessible curriculum that they call critical thinking + improv art + new media. This creative curriculum is being used to spread knowledge about global poverty beyond the classroom.

The project is a new approach to the traditional online education that is sweeping the world. While the traditional method of online education tends to simply stick a video recorder in a classroom, the Global Poverty Project seeks to create numerous forms of media and material for students to utilize as a whole or in parts. Eventually there will be a text book that utilizes matrix barcode technology that will link to other related information. Each video that is posted also links to useful sites and information. By generating discussions on Twitter, Roy’s classroom, already full with 600 pupils, has expanded, potentially exponentially, and has become a place where students, people on campus and anyone in the world can exchange ideas.

More than creating a groundbreaking approach to online education, Roy, Graham, and VaMuijen are looking to create new and interesting internet videos that spark discussion and critical thinking.“Most of them, I think, are really patronizing and oversimplify the very complex aspects of poverty action. They’re a call to action, but they don’t necessarily explore all the political and ethical issues that smart young people know are at stake,” said Roy about most internet videos that attempt to address poverty.

Each video starts with a question and offers a scholarly argument for a way of thinking about it. VanMuijen then takes video to a whole other level with visual note-taking and creates the videos. Like the minor itself, the videos are framed to encourage thinking about solutions to poverty that steer clear of what Roy sees as two extremes: “The hubris of benevolence, young Americans thinking ‘I’m going to solve poverty during my alternative spring break,’ and the paralysis of cynicism, which we have a lot of at Berkeley, really smart kids who know how to critique everything in the world but they’re not really sure what to do after that critique.” Later, the project, new media, curriculum, and critical thinking about global poverty come together. While Roy lectures, the Twitter feed is projected behind her in the classroom and the videos are being played and igniting discussion all over the world.

– Kira Maixner

Source: UC Berkeley News Center