We are looking into the problem of limited access to education in developing countries in Southeast Asia

Core Idea: Due to the lack of government support, local people should take initiative and make use of the internet to not only gather money and support, but also raise people’s interest.

 All about the problem (Gabriel)

When we think about Global Security, the natural thought that comes into one’s mind is police and military forces. However, this aspect of global security is actually one way to avoid violence once it already exists in a society. However, how can we avoid violence within society?

According to Jean-Jacques Rousseau, people are born naturally good and they change as they live more time within society. Therefore, people are not born criminals, they have reasons to commit crimes and we see those reasons clearly in developing countries. Whenever a human being has few opportunities and, thus becomes difficult to get a job and have a good quality of life. So, how can we change this situation?

We think that education is key in order to fix this problem. In countries of Southeast Asia, it is clear that the countries (mainly developing) have low quality of education and, therefore suffer with ascending violence in their societies. We think that bringing education to all people in a country will improve their chances of getting a job and living a comfortable life.

However, we see an astonishing inequality in those countries. This conveys that there are many people that still cannot have proper education. In our discussions, we raised many conditions that lead to this problem. For instance, the concentration of wealth in Manila, Philippines, lead people to move from their hometowns to big cities in order to get a good education. Nevertheless, not every person can move. Thus bringing the problem of excluding and segregating those people who live away from the best schools.

This problem can also relate to the violence rate in the big cities. Many people go to those areas in order to try to make a living, but many of them, unfortunately, cannot. Being poor is a trigger to many of those criminals to rob and try to make a living out of it, otherwise they will be homeless and poor for their lives. We believe that if everyone was able to access education, violence indexes would be lower or even eradicated.

That is exactly the reason why we chose this issue. We believe that it could improve global security and solve the violence in the world. Therefore, our research is going to be focused on how to it is possible to solve this problem by studying countries in Southeast Asia and possibly extend the same solutions to many other regions. However, each country is a different case and, therefore, we will be focusing on a few countries in Asia that struggle with educational issues.


Coming up with ideas (Moe and Manami)

In the brainstorming process, we came up with several ideas. First idea is that supporting children’s parents’ career is important because children cannot go to school due to poverty. Better income enables them to focus on the studying.

Second, instead of counting on the government solely, they should rely on the supports from NGOs as well.

Third, we should get students to feel more interested in science by showing the practicality. For example, it is good idea to have students go to real place. They would start to solve problem. We can see this in the video we found in YouTube. Lastly, the crowdfunding. we could raise money and interest from all over the world. In the video, the boat project raised fund only in the Philippines, but it is not enough.

With the issues in mind, it can be inferred that using E-learning system would be a good option. It is not the conventional solution, it is advanced idea. (Moe Akagawa)

After we discussed this topic and watched the documentaries, we thought the core problem is poverty. Their parents cannot earn enough money to make their living, so that children have to work and they don’t have enough time and money to go to school. So first of all, we think it’s better to solve their parents’ financial problem. In what way can we help aid this problem? First, companies from foreign countries could create business in developing countries and give them opportunities to engage their job, since supporting parents’ career is fundamental solution to get out of poverty but it’s going to be long term and it’s not sure all of them will be able to get opportunity to have a good job). Second, the government could give them subsidiary aid. In Japan, we introduce this system, but we are not sure it will work in developing countries because government don’t have enough money to support them. Another way is to ask financial support from NGOs. It is normal ideas and most developing countries already did. Lastly, people can gather money by using crowdfunding. It seems the most reliable, easiest, cheapest solution for developing countries. They can make an announcement by using SNS, such as posting on Facebook, Twitter, or Youtube.

However, if we could solve financial problem, there are still some problems concerning other matters. One of them is that there are not enough schools, teachers and materials for children to study. What are some ways to solve this?

First could be raising the salary of teachers and make it attractive job to increase the number of teachers (how can we raise salary? And only if we could do that, it might decrease the quality of teachers because they will be motivated only by money). Second could be asking governments to increase the budget for education (the possibility is quite low.) Third could be inviting teachers from foreign countries (some countries already did). Last could be using internet resources like e-learning system or Youtube videos to study. However, if they use this method schools, teachers and materials are not necessary. It seems the most reliable solution for now but it still have problem that most family don’t have internet in developing countries.

Reality knocks (Jien and Jannie)

Documentary: Assignment Asia: Philippines Swim to School 

When you are not in the big city such as Manila in the Philippines, the financial support towards education is basically scarce. Consequently, schools and classrooms are not enough and moreover, there is no road nor walkway to commute to school. Imagine if every morning you have to go trail walking for an hour though forest and rivers, and you can’t have your textbooks get wet, I love nature but this is too much.

No roads, no walkways and boats are not enough so kids have to walk 2 km in the water with textbook and clothes protected.

The Yellow Boat of Hope! Is one great example of non-government organization that used social media to raise people’s interest and gather money to help kids here.

Considering both economic power and convenience, we also get an ideas to use internet to support education online. If we can’t have more schools or teacher, at least have a source that students can study online. And where are we are going to get money from? There is an real example that by funding through SNS successfully got us boats! And this time with the same solution we get internet access.

Furthermore, no matters how big or small the government support is, the majority of people in developing countries show less interest in education. In this case, this documentary about Inspiring Science in Thailand has provided us a problem and a solution for it.

Students get to talk to real people to know the problem then they brainstorm and come up with varieties of solutions. Here is a great example of letting the people realise how important and practical education can be.

Documentary: Philippines’ failing schools

Mayaman ang Pilipinas pero naghihirap ang sambayanang Pilipino.” (The Philippines is rich, but the Filipinos are suffering.)

“If people leave it to government – I just hope they have the right thing – it will never be enough.”

This documentary helped us gain more insights regarding the factors that affect students’ academic performance in school. The documentary focused on how schools that are run by the government are suffering because the state does not put enough investment in the education sector. Some children do not get to go to school at all, since parents would sometimes need help to earn income for their everyday needs. Another problem addressed is the lack of teachers, classrooms, and resources. In public schools, if a teacher is absent, there is a big chance that there will be no one to substitute for them. Those who are considered the lucky students are the ones who have classrooms, chairs, textbooks, and teachers. According to the documentary, the government dedicates only 2% of the GDP for education, whereas the required amount by the World Bank is 6%. That is the thing. Only 2% is allocated, and where does this usually go? It seems as if trying to solve one issue gives birth to another bigger problem, and this is why it is important not only to know about the problem that we are trying to find a solution for, but also get a deeper understanding of the reality and the deeply-rooted causes of the issue at hand.