Pills for curing school dropout?: Part II

Marcelo Cabrol 2 agosto 2011 Comments

As I wrote in my previous post, the pill to prevent the “pain of others,” i.e. dropping out of school, is volunteerism provided through youth social services, and especially by the relatively privileged young people whose education and future are guaranteed.

This idea is not new, and the region already offers many very interesting examples. Among them are “Mentores Solidarios” in Nicaragua and “Parceiros Voluntarios” in Brazil. Both demonstrate the two main challenges facing volunteer initiatives in our countries: organizing and professionalizing the management of such efforts. These examples demonstrate good practices, but they have not been scaled.

In fact, none of these initiatives has reached a “tipping point“, which is the title of a classic book by Malcolm Gladwell that I recommend. In line with Gladwell’s ideas, volunteering must turn into an epidemic in which our young people are “Patient Zero.”

There already are mini-epidemics―some new, some not so new―that illustrate my point.

1. One is the epidemic of the movement called “Enseña,” or “Teaching”. Beginning with the release of “Enseña Chile” in 2008, these adaptations of Teach for America, an exceptional example of social innovation and social volunteerism, have spread to Peru, Argentina (where it is called “Enseñá por Argentina”) Brazil, and Colombia. As told to me by my friend Alvaro Henzler― the brain and the heart of Enseña Perú―the young people involved have a “great sense of responsibility, and also of urgency.”

2. In Mexico’s Conafe, an old epidemic continues. Last month I visited this program that the government of Mexico has been carrying out for many years to promote youth volunteerism in rural areas. In one place, far from the nearest secondary school, I heard a 14-year-old boy recite an excellent history of graffiti as his teacher, another boy of just 21 years, listened on with pride.

Returning to Gradwell, we must ask: What can be done to deliberately start a benign epidemic of volunteerism in education? This goal is urgent for the present, but also for the future, since the young volunteers of today will be our ministers of education tomorrow.

    4 thoughts on “Pills for curing school dropout?: Part II

    1. tom abeles

      in the United States Teach for America participants also must take classes to obtain their license, Additionally, they receive an equivalent salary as regular teachers and commit to two years. In commitment it is similar to the US Peace Corps or other programs. Additionally, the competition for these positions makes the program highly selective- so academic requirements are high, often far higher than teachers who go through the regular teacher training program.

      There are many critical issues to consider other than finding a “body” to volunteer.

    2. Saumava

      Passionate Volunteers with awareness of Purpose – Going back to Schools:

      One ever fostering channel of volunteering could be the youth from the schools and colleges – in their practical coursework, they could be inspired to develop something for real, on-the-ground implementation for use by the masses.

      The results could be judged by the effectiveness indicators based on ground surveys from the user-base.

      For example, if earning during the day-time is keeping a family away from the time to school, a self-learning capsule [audio / text / graphics / video] embedded in a reused cell phone featuring better business opportunities or tricks of the trade could be a good gift. Also, how about the students with disabilities – who cannot make it to the traditional schools / the schools are not or suddenly after a life-changing incident do not become accessible to them?

      The contents may be dictated by the experts of the profession and the solution can be designed through technical consultation with organizations / schools. Free, open source codes would mean better opportunities for customization of contents at later time. Rechargable cards may be obtained from the nearby retail outlet to load the next series / level of courses.

      In short, if they cannot make it to the school, the school can be made to come, if invited, to bring value to their lives and operations. The series of contents captured in the course of the building up of this repository may be reused or refined with interaction / feedback features from the learner.

    3. Juan A. Granados

      Amigos educadores,

      Las deserciones escolares de nuestros adolescentes también son causadas por:

      1. Una inadecuada Educación Temprana (Pre-kinder).
      2. Un hogar ausente de, o con serias deficiencias en Destrezas Paternales, donde el niño y la escuela/los educadores NO recibieron el debido apoyo en la educación del alumno.
      Ambas cosas tienen remedio.
      Dear educators,

      Our our children dropout of school also because of:

      1. An inadequate Early Education (Pre-Kinder).
      2. A home where there are serious deficiencies or an absence of Paternal Skills needed to support the child and the school/educators in his successful education.
      Both things can be remedied.

    4. Pingback: Structural solutions | Quality Education is Possible

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