This Sunday, my mum asked one of my second cousins if he liked school. He is about six years old and goes to primary school. He nodded with his head and his mother, my cousin, answered that he liked it. I said that he should stay in school as long as possible. His mother started laughing and said that we don’t all have brains like I do. She has a point. On my dad’s side of the family I am the first with a university degree at graduate level. Hopefully not the last.
I know that studying isn’t for anyone. Some people are just more doers and prefer a practical approach to life. You don’t need degrees to be wise and books to be smart. But no one can deny that the basis of a successful life in the 21st century starts with getting an education. Learning to write, read and count are the basis of growing to an independent adult life. But education is so much more than these basic life skills.
The task of the modern educator is not to cut down jungles, but to irrigate deserts.
Today I opened the news website with the main headline that 16 000 kids in Mosul, Iraq, will be going back to school. No longer teachings in the IS ideology, but classes in drawing, social sciences, philosophy, how to support your spouse and cooking. C.S. Lewis, one of my favourite authors, would jump up from happiness if he still was alive. Because education in Mosul is back to a place where deserts are irrigated.
I wish we had more respect for teachers and educators. I hope we all are teachers and educators. Maybe you don’t like reading, but you can inspire that teenage boy that is losing his faith to keep looking for what he believes in. Maybe you really don’t like the class you are taking at the moment, but you could meet up once a week with that young woman in your street that fled from Syria to have a coffee and discuss life together.
I hope our six-year-old cousins keep dreaming about becoming princesses or fire fighters. In the mean time, I hope we will keep fighting for education for every child in the world. No matter how lost a country might be or how fundamentally different your values are from the education that is offered in your city, going to school is important. Getting an education is the start of everything you dream of as a child. Every child is worth it. Let’s irrigate deserts together.