Education, the key to our development. Please lend a helping hand.

I am of the opinion that we are the architects of our own poverty. When I say this I do not mean that individually we are responsible, I am saying that collectively we are. We have the collective ability to raise the standards of our living situations internationally.

We continually pay taxes that are really supposed to help with the governance and maintenance of the island and its people. This is the idea of collective security I am writing of. The problem here is that the government is not always working in the best interest of the people. The people also have a social responsibility to collectively look after themselves. It is this social collective responsibility to ourselves that we do not possess.

Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have played a major role in pushing for sustainable development at the national and international level. Campaigning groups have been key drivers of inter-governmental negotiations, ranging from the regulation of hazardous wastes to a global ban on land mines and the elimination of slavery.

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“The World Bank defines NGOs as private organizations that pursue activities to relieve suffering, promote the interests of the poor, protect the environment, provide basic social services, or undertake community development. A World Bank Key Document, Working With NGOs, adds, In wider usage, the term NGO can be applied to any non-profit organization which is independent from government. NGOs are typically value-based organizations which depend, in whole or in part, on charitable donations and voluntary service. Although the NGO sector has become increasingly professionalized over the last two decades, principles of altruism and voluntarism remain key defining characteristics.

Different sources refer to these groups with different names, using NGOs, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), Private Voluntary Organizations (PVOs), charities, non-profits charities/charitable organizations, third sector organizations and so on.

These terms encompass a wide variety of groups, ranging from corporate-funded think tanks, to community groups, grassroot activist groups, development and research organizations, advocacy groups, operational, emergency/humanitarian relief focused, and so on.

Since the 1970s, it has been noted how there are more non-governmental organizations than ever before trying to fill in the gaps that governments either will not, or cannot.

Note that there is an increasing number of organizations from developing countries, doing important work, helping to raise important issues or tackle various problems.

In recent years as well, development and environmental NGOs for example, are learning that they can be more effective, and their work can have more positive effects, if they work with the actual communities and help them to empower themselves. Working at the grassroots level helps to provide assistance directly at the source. .” Shah, Anup. “Non-governmental Organizations on Development Issues.” Global Issues. 01 Jun. 2005

Without a treasury, a legislature or an army at its disposal, civil society is less equipped to confront the challenges of globalization than nations are, and more likely to be wracked by divisions based on region and the self-interest of the single-issue groups that form the nucleus of the civil society movement. David Rieff,

A lot of official aid raised and distributed by NGOs, in the past has been based intentionally, or unknowingly, on foreign policy objectives, or the interests of the lenders, less of the recipients. Aid has often led to excessive dependency or reliance on aid rather than helping nations move away from this.

It is not that the poor are unable to do things themselves, but with the aftermaths of colonialism, corruption, conflicts and so on, rebuilding and developing often requires outside assistance. The form of assistance that would be preferred is one that allows the recipient to help them help themselves, along the lines of the famous age-old quote: Give a man a fish; you have fed him for today. Teach a man to fish; and you have fed him for a lifetime.

The evolution of education in Barbados is the aim of this present activity by the African Heritage Foundation a registered charity on the island.

 

The African Heritage Foundation is seeking an alternative method of raising the funds it needs to effect change in the educational system in Barbados by introducing the alternative of Home Directed Education (Homeschooling). This campaign intends to be a onetime initiative that will empower us to become self-sustainable. Your donation helps us create and develop our educational system based on our needs and not on those of the international lending agencies.

Why does our educational system need reform? It was just last October at the Fifth International Conference on Higher Education that Barbados’ education system had come for severe criticism from a senior official of the Inter American Development  Bank (IDB), who had warned that even though the island was considered a leader in Latin America and the Caribbean, its overall level of learning was still way below par.

Below are some anomalies in our primary education system. Barbados Underground was able to verify these anomalies.

  • Many primary school children who have been identified as ‘special needs’ within the primary school sometimes have to wait for more than a school year to gain the required transfer to other institutions to match their requirements. There is one case where the evaluating results of a primary school student was available only after the child had been placed into the secondary school system
  • There is the case where some primary school children have been able to reach Class 1 and II who cannot read or write their names
  • The most gut wrenching story received is that of two students who got zero marks in the 11 plus examination. The travesty is not that the children would have participated in the primary system and yielded such a disappointing result, but the lack of an immediate response from our educational system
  • One of the notes received was highly critical of the ‘Criterion Test’ which is presided over by the Ministry of Education. As we understand it, it is a test given to all primary students at the Infants B through to the Class 2 standard irrespective of what levels of understanding the students have attained. As if this is not bad enough the results to the Criterion Tests are often returned months and years later after completion. The obvious problem with this scenario is that the lag caused by the late availability of the results of the test negates a solution oriented approach
  • Last but not least is the oversized classrooms within our primary school set-up, sometime 30+ which means that those children who require remedial care are doomed even before they start the journey of fulfilling their right to be correctly educated. The future of Barbados and the world depends on the readiness of the generation in waiting to build on foundations laid.

I do hope that this article was able to provide a little background information on the importance of NGO’s and the importance of this activity to create a Home Directed Education service.

The African Heritage Foundation is asking you to make a small donation to our GoFundMe campaign so that we are able to start our educational service in September 2017.

Thank you.

Information for this article has been sourced from Barbados Today, Barbados Underground and Global Issues.

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