Featured Lesson

The Basic Education Crisis In Developing Countries: It Affects Us All

by Ben Taylor

    History Department Chair

    Oxford Academy

    Westbrook, CT

 

Overview

GRADE LEVEL: 10-12

TIME ALLOTMENT: Four 55 minute class periods

More than 60 million children of primary school age around the world are deprived of the right to go to school.  Most of them are girls.  It’s been estimated that as many as 10 million of those children - more than any other country in the world - are in Nigeria.  These children are missing out on the opportunity to become healthier adults, more productive citizens and better informed parents.  It's a pressing issue that cannot be ignored.  And the impact of the crisis extends far beyond the boundaries of Nigeria.  

This unit was designed to introduce students to the basic education crisis in Nigeria and other developing countries, and how it is impacting our lives here in the United States.  The ultimate goal of the unit is to instill in the students a sense of global responsibility.  The first lesson covers the basic education crisis, the countries where it is taking place, the disproportionate impact of the crisis on girls, and the global effects.  The second lesson takes a close look at Nigeria, again covering the ways girls are affected and the global ramifications, as well as some examples of what is being done to address the issue.  Finally, the unit culminates with a group presentation project, in which students will be working in small groups to do research about basic education in different countries and present their findings to the class.

Unit Learning Objectives

Students will be able to:

  • Describe the basic education crisis in developing countries and why basic education is important.
  • Examine the impact of the basic education crisis in developing countries on the lives of Americans.
  •  Identify the circumstances that perpetuate gender disparities in educational opportunity in developing countries.
  •  Describe the importance of full opportunities for females in developing countries.
  •  Examine the role of the UN and NGO’s in promoting educational opportunity for children – especially females – in developing countries.

Lesson One - Introduction to the Basic Education Crisis

Objectives

Students will:

  • Reflect on ways their own education impacts others.
  • Identify who is affected by the basic education crisis.
  • Examine documents in groups to gain an understanding of how basic education has global implications.

Activities

Introduction 

1. Ask students to think and write for a few minutes about the following questions/prompts projected on the board: 

  • You’re currently in school getting an education. 
  • How does your education affect others? 
  • Make a list of everyone who might be affected by your education.

2. Have students share their ideas with a partner, and then with the rest of the class.  List students’ ideas on the board and encourage the students to see how far they can go with the influence of ones education on others.  Explain to students that because of globalization and global interconnectedness, one's education can affect not only themelves and their friends and families, but also people everywhere.  For example, one's level of education influences both the national and global economies.  This is because your education will determine how you vote and the type of job that you will have.   

Mini-lecture/Presentation

1. Project the following facts about the basic education crisis on the board and go through them with students.

  • “Millions (of students) remain out of school.
  • Approximately 72 million primary school-age children are not in school – the equivalent of the populations of New York City, Shanghai, Los Angeles and Tokyo combined.
  • Girls account for 54% of the out-of-school children.
  • More than half, or 39 million, of the world’s out-of-school children live in areas impacted by conflict.
  • An estimated 44% of out-of-school children in developing countries are unlikely ever to enroll.
  • Children in school often face overcrowded classrooms, inadequately trained teachers and a lack of books, which leads millions of students to drop out before reaching the fifth grade.” 

2. Show students the following 2 graphics, so they can see who is affected (by region and by gender):

Dynamic Data Mapping,” from UNESCO

This link is an interactive global map that shows several different education-related statistics.  The adult literacy rate is one effective way to measure the need for basic education and provides a good overview of the issue.  If there’s time it’s worth looking at some of the statistics too.

Millennium Developmental Goals: Gender Parity in Basic Education…” from Children and Youth in History

The main points here are that this is a global issue - it’s happening in developing countries around the world - and girls have less access to education than boys.

Group Activity

1. Divide the class into small groups, and give each student a copy of “Graphic Organizer for Lesson One.”  (There are four readings, so group size will depend on class size, and with larger classes there can be multiple groups for each reading.)

2. First, before handing out readings, ask each group to discuss the following questions for a couple of minutes, and have each group share one idea. 

  • Why should we care about this issue? 
  • How does it affect us?

3. Explain that each group will be investigating the global impact of basic education and distribute one of the following Basic Education Coalition factsheets to each group:

  • Why is Basic Education So Important?
  • Building Economic Growth through Basic Education
  • Investing in Girls Education Drives Development
  • Building Security Through Basic Education

Have students read their documents as a group, and record the global effects they are reading about on the appropriate section of their organizers.

4. When groups are done, ask one member from each group to present the effects they discussed in their group to the rest of the class while everyone else records those effects on their organizers.  At the end, each student will have a thorough list of the global impacts of basic education.

Conclusion

Finish the class by reviewing the main points of the lesson:

  • The basic education crisis is a widespread, global problem.
  • Most of the children that are denied access to basic education are girls.
  • The basic education crisis affects the entire world.
  • We also feel the impact of the basic education crisis on our lives here in the US.

Homework or Extension Activity

Have students watch two video clips from the PBS documentary, “Time for School”.

The first clip is about Neeraj, an Indian girl attending night school:

http://www.thirteen.org/edonline/wideangle/videobank/school_neeraj.html

The second clip is about the benefits of school for young Beninese girls:

http://www.thirteen.org/edonline/wideangle/videobank/school_benin.html

Introduce the students to the video clips by explaining that they will provide them with a closer look at some of the barriers that prevent many children – especially girls, from completing primary school.  The clips will also help them understand the sense of urgency surrounding the basic education crisis, the benefits of educating girls, and how local communities are taking steps to address the problem.  Ask the students to write a short statement that describes their reactions to what they saw and learned  from watching the videos.

 

Lesson Two - Case Study of Nigeria

Objectives

Students will be able to:

  • Identify who is affected by the basic education crisis in Nigeria.
  • Describe the importance of full educational opportunities for females in Nigeria.
  • Explain how the basic education crisis in Nigeria affects the rest of the world.
  • Examine the role of the UN and NGO’s in promoting educational opportunity for children in Nigeria.

Activities

Introduction 

1. Ask students to write for a few minutes on the following prompt:

  • What can be done to help solve the problem of the basic education crisis? 
  • How can educational opportunities be provided for girls in developing countries?

2. When students are finished, go through the following global actors and ask students to raise their hand if their solution came from one of them.

  • Non-profit NGOs
  • International Organizations (UN, IMF, World Bank G-8, G-20, etc)
  • Corporations
  • National Governments
  • Universities 
  • Individuals
  • Any others that students may have come up with

Tally the results on the board, and explain that there are many actors on the global stage and that solutions to global problems can come from a variety of places.

Review

Review what was covered the day before by going over the 3 questions that will drive today’s lesson and the culminating project.

  • Who is affected by the basic education crisis and why?
  • How does it impact us in the US and the rest of the world?
  • What is being done to address the problem?

Explain to students that we can ask these questions about the basic education crisis in general or about any country in particular.  In today’s lesson the questions will focus on Nigeria, and in the final project groups they will be working to answer these questions about other countries.

Learning Activities

Distribute the “Graphic Organizer for Lesson Two and Group Presentations”.  The following information will cover the material in each section.  Students should be using it to take notes throughout the class.  Have students share their ideas/reactions and review each of the following sections to ensure that all students are on the same page and have recorded the information they need.  (This is the same organizer students will be using during presentations at the end of the unit, so this is an opportunity to model what type of information should be included in each presentation.)

1.  Start by showing students statistics about education in Nigeria from the UNICEF website:

http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/nigeria_statistics.html#90

Literacy Rates

Youth (15-24 years) literacy rate, 2005-2010, male: 78%

Youth (15-24 years) literacy rate, 2005-2010, female: 65%

Primary School

Net enrollment ratio, male: 66%

Net enrollment ratio, female: 60%

Secondary School

Net enrollment ratio, male: 29%

Net enrollment ratio, female: 22%

2. Show students the following video about female students at a school in Nigeria:

Send My Friend to School
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5eVmjkL1YL8&feature=player_embedded 

3. In the previous lesson the students discussed how basic education spurs economic growth and development, and promotes democracy and stability.  Now they will re-visit those topics. 

Share the following news stories from Nigeria with the class.  For each news story, ask students the following questions:

  • Can expanding children's access to basic education help to resolve the issues covered in the news story?  If so, how?
  • How do the issues covered in the news story affect us here in the U.S.?

Is Nigeria the Next Front in the War on Terror? by Daveed Gartenstein-Ross in Foreign Policy

“The country’s sectarian violence is getting out of control.  Violence between Christians and Muslims in Nigeria is drawing the country ever closer to a religious war. The instigator of this conflict is Boko Haram, an Islamist movement whose very name means "Western education is forbidden." If the Nigerian government can't stop this conflict from spiraling out of control, expect the United States to step in -- albeit with a relatively light hand -- to tip the scales against Boko Haram.”

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/07/03/is_nigeria_the_next_front_in_the_war_on_terror

Nigeria's Entrepreneurs: Angels in Lagos by T.O. in The Economist           

“On a Monday evening in Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital, a group of investors, bloggers, tech people, bankers, and government officials gathered at the Wheatbaker Hotel for the launch of the “Lagos Angel Network”. Tomi Davies, an IT consultant and one of the brains of the project, spoke with zeal of "something happening within the investment and technology space in Nigeria".

“Indeed a plethora of online platforms have emerged in recent years: Jobberman helps you find a job; Dealdey gets you group deals; Pagatech deals in mobile payments; Wakanow brings you travel offers. Iroko, which offers online films and music, boasts half a million registered users and more than 5,000 paying subscribers. Locally-designed mobile-phone apps and computer games abound, creations of a growing band of mostly-self-taught youngsters seeking to capitalise on rising internet penetration and a big market—70% of Nigeria's 160m people are under than 35 years old.”

http://www.economist.com/blogs/baobab/2012/10/nigerias-entrepreneurs?zid=304&ah=e5690753dc78ce91909083042ad12e30

4.  Split the class into two groups, and have each read one of the short articles about educational initiatives in Nigeria.  The first is about the UK’s Department for International Development working with the Nigerian Government and UNICEF.  The second is about PCNAF’s scholarship programs.  Have students spend a few minutes reading and taking notes on their organizers.  Then ask students from each group to present the main ideas from their articles, while the other group takes notes on them.

Homework and Final Project

End the class by introducing the group project that will be the culmination of the lesson.

Divide the class into groups of three and hand out a copy of “Requirements for Group Project” to each student.

This handout includes the details of the project, including formatting requirements, instructions, grading expectations.  Read through it with the class to be sure all of the expectations are clear, and explain that today’s lesson modeled some of this with Nigeria. 

The first step is for each group to choose a country to research.  Ask students to think about which countries are directly affected by the basic education crisis and choose one of them (except for Nigeria). This could also be a good opportunity to show the UNESCO map from the first lesson again.  Check in with each group and give suggestions to ensure that each group chooses a different country.

The homework is for each group member to find and read their country’s page on the UNICEF website: http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/index.html  Show students how to find information about education in their countries by projecting this website.

 

Lessons Three and Four – Group Project

Objectives

Students will:

  • Describe the basic education crisis in developing countries and why basic education is important.
  • Examine the impact of the basic education crisis in developing countries on the lives of Americans.
  • Identify the circumstances that perpetuate gender disparities in educational opportunity in developing countries.
  • Describe the importance of full educational opportunities for females in developing countries.
  • Examine the role of the UN and NGO’s in promoting educational opportunity for children – especially females – in developing countries.

Activities

In Lesson Three, students will have the opportunity to work with their group on their presentations.  Each student will have their own section to be working on, but the group as a whole is expected to propose what they believe would be the best solution to the basic education crisis in their country. 

In Lesson Four, each group will be presenting their work while the rest of the class takes notes on the “Graphic Organizer for Lesson Two and Group Presentations.”  These graphic organizers can be collected and graded. 

End the unit with a discussion about the similarities and differences that students see in each presentation in each of the four areas:

1. What is the current basic education situation in this country?  Who is affected?

2. How does education (or lack thereof) impact that country, the US and the rest of the world?

3. What is currently being done to address this problem?  Has any progress been made?

4.  What has the group proposed as a solution?

 

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