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Taking Back Education After a [Literal] War on Schools

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Learning 2030 Summit focuses on the future of high school education, a future that will be influenced by the wider landscape of education issues; from informal to formal education, primary to post-secondary.

In this Learning 2030 Blog entry explore how the principal of a high school that was burned to the ground during Sierra Leone's civil war views the state of education in his war-ravaged country. 

by Joseph K. Kposowa, Learning 2030 Blog Contributor

War-torn and developing countries have an urgent need for stable educational systems. Education is a key aspect of nation-building (or nation re-building), prosperity, and peace.

What many conflict areas lack are educational systems that provide for their students physically, socio-culturally, and psychologically. Qualified teachers, teaching materials and a suitable classroom environment for students may be hard to come by, let alone the access to technology that has greatly changed education in the developed world.

Connecting globally

The introduction of computer studies and Internet connectivity can make a tremendous difference. In most developing countries or in countries torn apart by war, poor Internet service in schools has greatly interfered with the ability of students to share what they know with the world.

My students and I have participated in Education Fast Forward (EFF) debates in both Lagos, Nigeria and Nairobi, Kenya via Cisco. We were able to consider different views on how to achieve global peace from students around the world and shared our own views on how to equip students with the skills they need to be the leaders of tomorrow.

Supporting locally

Psychologically, there is a need for providing care to students who have lived through war. At each school the importance of peace and of understanding the rights of children must be a focus. Additionally, promoting a healthy lifestyle through physical education can promote the wellbeing of students and the community at large. 

Finally, a solid educational system can provide career guidance to its students. This will make a difference by helping students to choose courses that will equip them for a stable future.

Many schools in developing countries do not prepare students for the realities of the job market and after graduation many students struggle to find work.

In Sierra Leone, which endured 11 years of war, stable, solid educational systems can be found only in the private sector. I believe that the development of quality education systems that are accessible to all should be emphasized and supported school-by-school, student-by-student. 
 

Joseph Kposowa is the principal of Sierra Leone’s Bumpe High School and a Promethean Education Fast Forward ambassador. Since 2009, the rebuilt Bumpe High School has returned to peak enrolment of 600 students – the student population it had before it was destroyed by rebels during the country’s 1991-2002 civil war.