I fondly remember the days of high school Model United Nations. I have made many friends and memories over the short year and a half, and it has influenced me to involve myself in the world of global politics and development more than anything else. We were such energetic youths, trying to understand global problems, and more importantly creating solutions.
After a couple of months of MUNing, a recognizable pattern appeared. Education seemed to be THE answer to every problem. In eradiacting AIDS, educate awareness. In the topic of genetically modified crops, educate the risks. Poverty, educate. Somehow. In our minds, education was the golden key. We would imagine women in colorful saris, kangas, and sombreros convening under a large mango tree, to listen to a man wearing a short-sleeved light blue shirt, the UN man about how to better live their lives. School children too will come together under a large mango tree, to listen to a professional lady talk about the risks of AIDS. On one of our MUN excursions, I overheard my friend remark that education is the solution to all problems. He said it tackles over population, as educated people breed less. It tackles poverty, as higher education leads to higher income. As naive as he may sound now, he was the smartest member, and to this day I think of him with respect.
The past year I have seen the above-mentioned education fest happen in reality. I have lost count on all the half-days and cancelled classes because of some teachers wanting to counsel students, or someone from the health department wanted to talk about AIDS. My MUN fantasies are happening, right in my school. Unfortunately, I do not like what I see. As my school and my children become a number of bureaucrats’ petri dish, academics is being pushed away. Even the lowly motivated teachers of Sabasaba are complaining the loss of lessons. How ironic.