March 26, 2023
Ithaca, NY | 42°F


The more you read the more you know


School Al Ishraq Primary, Akamat Al Me’gab, Yemen
Courtesy of: Julian GermainSchool Al Ishraq Primary, Akamat Al Me’gab, Yemen

It’s another Ithaca winter and our minds are even more frozen to what’s going on outside these woods.

As we sit in class and doze off or hit the snooze on our alarms and start to skip class we need to appreciate the education we’re fed. Instead of sleeping through class or blowing off a reading we should value our education as a gift.

Now we do pay a ridiculous amount to go to this school so I guess it’s an expensive gift, but one that will help us in the future and one that people in the world would die for.

In the developing world one in five adults cannot read or write. One in five doesn’t seem too much, but it totals up to 862 million people in these countries. That would be equivalent to about 128,656 Ithaca College campuses, filled with nothing more than illiteracy.

Most of the illiterate adults are women as illiteracy in women exceeds 70 % in twenty developing countries. If that was in America that would extinct legends for their ability to read and write. Two women in particular come to mind after their Golden Globe laugh galore. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler would not have been able to cop the laughs if they couldn’t write the jokes or read the prompter. Just saying.

We also have to appreciate our classrooms, projectors, Dillingham stage, and Park School studios. What about schools with one classroom due to a population that lives off of less than two dollars a day in Akamat Al’Megab, Yemen. With paper thin walls and a room ready to rain down on the young children it is no surprise that 22% of primary age students would rather not go to school, or do not have the opportunity to. We neglect to appreciate the college education we have, because we are used to being spoiled throughout grade school. With nap time and gold fish we never really appreciated what we were getting.

The education in Yemen isn’t the worst you’ll see though. In Gambella Ethiopia not only is their life expectancy a whopping 58 years old, but the youth literacy is only 44%. That’s under half of the population.

Education around the world is not at all entirely in shambles. There are places that are enlightening with students who are motivated to go to school with a smile on their face, especially at Bornago College in the Netherlands with a youth literacy of 99.7% they have time to participate in PE and have fun.

At the School No 63, Kalininsky Dirstrict, St. Petersburg, Russia students are trained to step out into the business world and are prepared to be professionals. Not only is there a  youth literacy of 99.7% , but the students are dressed to impress. With designer suits and a hunger for knowledge they are ready for success.

Youth literacy is significant and one wants it always to be 100, but not if that means having a strict classroom setting. We live in a nation where we were programmed to pledge our allegiance everyday with the American flag in every classroom. Imagine if a picture of Barack Obama was in ever classroom, or worse a portrait of George W. Bush was hanging over us. In Escuela Primaria Angela Landa, Old Havana, Cuba the youth literacy is 100% however they all wear uniforms and don’t have those bright smiles as the kids in Netherlands do. They also have a picture of Che Guevara and Fidel Castro, always creating a dominant presence in the classroom.

Now maybe instead of reading nursery rhymes and Dr. Seuss, although I miss both, if we got a little education on education around the world or lack there of we might be able to appreciate the Ithaca College coursework, a little bit more.

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