Saturday, August 07, 2021

Global Education for All

 It was a nice day on Saturday with light snowfall in Shakotan town, Hokkaido, Japan. I participated an international cultural exchange program for elementary school students. My partner from Argentina and I were having so many great moments with Tamaki-chan (4th grade), Takuma-kun (5th grade), their teachers, and their families (mother, father, younger brother, and sister). We introduced our own countries as well as the students introduced their families and hometown. The mother was excited every time I explained about my country while showing the book to remind them about Indonesian culture. I was so impressed how they studied already about my culture before I came. Not only them, but I also studied so many things about Japanese culture. Even though I have already been in Japan for almost 1.5 years at that time, I didn’t have opportunities to interact with Japanese families until I joined this program. This kind of international exchange program, made me become more open-minded so then I have a better understanding and higher tolerance for each other as we learned to accept the cultural diversities that in turn, I believe the students also learned the same things as I felt.

I found out this kind of international cultural program is everywhere provided for Japanese students as I received so many offers for international students to interact with them. I was so amazed how the government—and even non-governmental organizations—have prepared this program very well in order to make the Japanese generation to be ready as global citizens. 

When thinking about my country, I was reminded of my nephew’s school life. He never had the opportunity to interact with international students. In fact, there is, but as I remember when I was a high school student, it was a very rare opportunity and limited only for the best student with a very great English proficiency in my city that means for example only one student over thousands of students. Meanwhile, at that time, I was just an ordinary student with poor English, even I didn’t dare to take the selection process for getting the opportunity. 

We did, realize, how important it is to expose students about global things as it is already started how countries have become borderless, people from different parts of the world now can communicate, and even travel around the world now become possible which is the concept of globalization. Nevertheless, globalization can become a nightmare for us if we are still not ready yet to face global competition. We know that one of the ways to make us ready is to be well globally educated. However, as a developing country, we still have other problems that urge more the government to handle it, such as numerous kids in rural areas are still uneducated literally even for basic knowledge as the infrastructure is still not supported well so it makes them difficult to access for school. Furthermore, in some cases even made me in tears as knowing that there are some kids who don’t give up and are struggled to go to a very far school just in order to get an education even though they have to cross a frail bridge or swim to cross the river. That’s why access to education is still our main problem.

Nonetheless, seeing how access to global education is very easy in Japan somehow, I think that developing countries can also do the same. Simply, the international students just require the opportunity to interact with the students through a certain program. Regardless of the problem of access to education, I believe the international cultural exchange program somehow can also accelerate the improvement for education in general, so no need to wait, just do both at the same time: improving the access to education and providing an opportunity for global education. If we didn’t catch up, we will always be left behind.

In conclusion, global education is needed, not only for developed countries, but also needed for developing countries to accelerate the improvement for education, and to allow the generation to catch up so they can be ready for global competition.


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