Students for change

I had to pleasure to attend yesterday a seminar inaugurating the “students for change” initiative. It was heartening to see high school students seriously concerned about the that state of education and Egypt and trying passionately to do something about it. They expressed their concerns about:

  1. The poor state of education in Egypt generally where the  focus is in on rote learning and very little emphasis in placed on creatively or decent intellectual development 
  2. The growing disparity in the quality of education between elite schools for the well to do and the public schools that have suffered for decades from under-funding and general corruption.
  3. The need for students to have a voice in shaping general education policies as well as those within their schools. Student government has been either non-existent or merely ceremonial during the Mubark era. 

The presenters put forth a number of ideas to start building some sort of cohesion among students from different schools and to get them to start working together. They had a range of activities around sports and talent development. They posed questions for audience about how structure themselves and to get things moving. They were concerned about getting the balance right between getting not being top heavy or  dictatorial while fostering a unity of purpose and objective.

It was clear to me that the issues of organization and trying address complex problems at the grass roots is something that Egypt as whole in struggling with in rediscovering its route to democracy. Seeing young students trying with a great deal of passion and enthusiasm to work those issues out confirms to me that this land will never be the same.