(mostly) daily photoblog

Teachers! Read on…and everyone else, too.

I was in Palu, Sulawesi, Indonesia, for the last two and a half days.  I was looking at opportunities for service for my 10th grade students.  I got to visit two schools, an orphanage, a couple of churches, and a nursing academy.  The photo above was taken at one of the schools.

Yes, that is chicken wire acting as a window.  Yes, that is a corrugated steel roof.  Yes, those slats letting in daylight are the wall of the Kelas Satu (1st grade) classroom.  Yes, students come here daily from 7:00 am to 1:00 pm, and they’re grateful and enthusiastic for the education they get.

If you work in a place like I work (a highrise-housed, private, international school), or where I worked in Canada, or where friends of mine work in America, let me assure you…it is as bad as you can imagine to be a student in a rural school in Indonesia.  It is like this all over South Asia, Asia, the Middle East, most places.  Not every school is like this, but there are schools like this everywhere.  The problem isn’t reading Three Cups of Tea and donating to your local educational charity.  It also does not require all of you reading this to drop whatever job you have and come roaring over to Indonesia intent on saving the day.

The problem is that there is no one solution.  No single fix-it approach.  These students need teachers.  The schools need financial help. The people need to believe that education is important.  The world needs to wake up and start investing in the things that matter, the future of their children, not what fills their gas tanks or funds wars or…


6 responses

  1. AMEN!

    November 6, 2012 at 9:23 pm

  2. Bev Klassen

    You are so right Marc – education can fix so much of what is wrong with our world. I remember hearing about Costa Rica where they have no military, choosing to spend that money on education. If only more countries would see things that way.
    Good for you that you are passing on this message. We think of you often and I love these daily photos (which are excellent!) which bring your world into ours. Keep it up and we here in Canada will have a more accurate picture of a world unknown to us.

    November 6, 2012 at 11:43 pm

    • Thanks. I had no idea about Costa Rica…I’ll have to look that up.

      November 7, 2012 at 5:14 am

    • Interesting comment, Bev. Indonesia nears the bottom of spending on education. Third from the bottom when I taught there in 2008-08. It’s poor, but it’s not the third poorest country in the world. It is a complex problem. I was in Makassar and will report that while the schools were very spartan, they were better than this one. I’d add that big problems are that many students can’t afford books, that teachers aren’t all that educated and many have several jobs so they lack the time to concentrate on teaching. Also, often the poorest children are expected to work to add to the family’s income.

      November 7, 2012 at 9:41 pm

      • I agree with all those statements. I should add that this photo shows one 1st grade classroom, but it’s attached to a much nicer complex.

        Still, I wouldn’t want this for my own kids…why should it be okay for someone else’s ?

        November 7, 2012 at 11:29 pm

  3. Chloe

    so very true!

    November 7, 2012 at 10:26 am