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Education in far away places

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Education in far away places

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This week in Learning World we go to Columbia, Indonesia and Syria to look at the effects of education in far flung corners of the globe.

In Colombia young school children in Los Pinos do not have a school bus, they use a zip line across a canyon to get to school.

The only alternative to the zip line is a two hour walk each way. Six years ago the Colombian government promised a cable car but despite accidents on the zip line, it never materialised.

In Indonesia, an education programme helps communities prepare for the effects of encroaching tourism and the modern world.

In the last 10 years, the organisation has set up 13 learning centres across the islands and more than 3,000 children have completed the pre-school classes.

The aim is to pass on knowledge, build confidence and teach moral values.

Open to all religious groups, classes include basic numeracy and literacy but also hygiene, dress-codes and nutrition.

Art and play are essential here. Instead of repeating facts, the children are encouraged to develop independent thought and constructive criticism.

In the Syrian desert, where Bedouin tribes are suspicious of education programmes, they find that education does not necessarily clash with their ancestral heritage.

Iliteracy is endemic here but now, new mobile schools have been established. They follow the tribes so that they can learn whilst still living according to their traditions.

But some elders think that learning about Bedouin life is an education in itself. They say that they have never been to school or studied and that their school is the desert.

The director of the World Food Programme, Muhannad Hadi, begs to differ. “Trust me,” he said, “an educated herder is far better than an illiterate one!”

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