On Comparative Education and Thoughts on Reform

Melinda Gates was on the Colbert Report last night, and I was surprised to find that I’ve never seen her before! Bill Gates is obviously everwhere and I’ve come across him on shows and interviews many times, but I’ve never heard Melinda Gates before. I was touched by how sweet and sincere she seemed.

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The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has made education reform in America one of their main priorities, and that brought me back to my thoughts on education – my own education, the education system in Saudi Arabia, and the sucky education system here.

Why is the Saudi model such a good model? I’m talking about the International School System in Saudi Arabia, the school system that gave me the tools that have brought me this far. Think about it – almost everyone in high school goes on to very good universities. Almost everyone gets into really good programs. Almost everyone knows how to write! That may sound like a little thing but I don’t think we realize how important basic writing skills are until we move back. I’m surprised nowadays if I come across a classmate who can write properly, that’s how bad the majority of my classmates are.

I remember how competitive high school was. Competitive with themselves, not with each other. The race to get good grades, get good SAT scores, get into good schools was big, and it paid off. But what made them want that? What made them care whether they even got into college or not, much less a good college? I know that it was a private school, yes, so that contributed to the fact that it’s much superior to any public school here, but that still doesn’t explain much.

If my high school teachers were all transported to a public school here, and if they weren’t given the tools given to them by the school system in Saudi Arabia, would they be as effective? I think they would be. So what makes them so much more effective than the average public school teacher here? At what age do children start learning basic skills like writing, and what prevents them from learning them properly?

There’s an idea for a potentially great book here. I’d love to be able to travel back to Saudi Arabia and make a case study of it. 🙂

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One thought on “On Comparative Education and Thoughts on Reform

  1. i LOVE Melinda Gates…. u put it so perfectly ‘i was so touched by how sweet and sincere she seemed’….. she’s a super sweetie heart and that really touches my heart…… *heart melting*… i think she will have to go in the ‘things we are touched by’ blog….. i find it so incredibly sweet how focused she is on helping the less fortunate…. i think of her as a modern day role model for women!

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