Quote EndQuote Cross-Cultural Strategy

Learning Should Be Wonderful

Posted by QEQ Intern | 01.03.14

A “Promise Neighborhood is a project that supports universal education for every child. The program is intended to improve the educational and developmental outcomes of all children, especially in the most distressed communities, such as ethnic ghettos with lower income levels.

Last month, I had the opportunity to attend a seminar where the Senior Director of PolicyLink, Michael McAfee, shared lessons from A Promise Neighbourhood.

During the seminar, Michael repeated the phrase “opportunity to learn”. New knowledge lets us try new things and think from different perspective. I think it is never too late to learn for everyone, even men and women of all ages. When we are children, however, I think we should also have the opportunity to learn and experience how interesting learning is. I believe children, and adults for that matter, can learn not for their parents or teachers, but for ourselves. Early education allows children to  to learn, grow, and succeed in the future. And the younger they are, the more it could positively impact their future.

It is unfortunate there are still children who don’t have an equal opportunity to learn. I started learning from elementary school and I am still learning in university. Am I “lucky” to have had the opportunity? McAfee believes the opportunity should be made equally around the world and the situation in which every child learns should be standardized.

Influenced by his presentation, I decided to examine “What is education?”. In my country, Japan, we accept government-provided education until junior high school. It is every child’s obligation to learn. In Japan, however, I feel we do not value “education” itself, but “the educational background”. We think prestigious universities guarantee the promised future. As well, Japanese tend to focus on which university we should go more than what we can learn there.

I asked my Korean and Chinese friends what their education was like. In Korea, they also value prestigious university names rather than the quality of the education received. Some students even try to commit suicide because they failed the entrance exam to the most prestigious universities. In China, schools tend to focus on exam scores; the teachers don’t care about the learning process.

Although in Japan we have the opportunity to go to school, are we really “learning” when we’re forced to learn instead of learning for the sake of learning new things? McAfee’s lesson really has me wondering.

From McAfee’s speech, I realized learning can be so wonderful. I can’t appreciate enough my parents giving me the opportunity to learn as well as all the people who taught me a lot of things throughout my life. I really wish every child around the world could also have an opportunity to obtain a strong education. To get involved in the Promise Neighbourhoods project, click here.

– Posted by Risa Hiramatsu, Marketing Intern at QEQ from Japan.