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ABOUT EDUCATION 

AN IDEA: A LIFELONG EDUCATION by Joseph Zarabi

“A child without education is like a bird without wings.” —Tibetan Proverb

For a New Education

“The aim of education is knowledge, not of facts, but of values.” —William S. Burrough

 

I believe that education is key to peace. However, it is estimated that 263 million children and youth around the world are currently out of school. And when they are at school, the educational system is not always successfully geared toward teaching them to make the most of their abilities and lead them on the path of content and happy lives. The mechanized formation of education, often based on Victorian-age principles, is not suitable for everyone, nor do I believe it brings out the best in everyone.

 

In order to help students strategize and work toward their goals, a new education system should be moved from the traditional subject-based approach to a new “project-based” approach. A project-based education would help to develop useful life skills with a strong emphasis on teamwork. But its prime purpose is utility. Educational institutions should form closed loops. Learning should not be solely directed at passing exams to get into other educational institutions. It should be imbued with a sense of achievement but also a sense of values.

 

I also believe that if our youth learned to use all their skills toward their self-betterment and collective good, this would be a very different world. Learning about how to utilize resources, be proactive and solve problems are skills for life. Teachers should be guides and leaders with a much greater emphasis on student development than could ever exist in the traditional system, whereby teachers are limited to address only the whole class and are unable to best attend to the needs of their students individually.

 

Sir Ken Robinson is a foremost critic of the Victorian education system and its deficiencies. He believes that schools are killing creativity with recent mechanized developments. He has written several books on education. I would like to direct you to a very inspiring talk of his: (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDZFcDGpL4U). Another inspiring figure is Salman Khan. Just a few years ago, Salman was an analyst in a hedge fund when he was asked by his cousins to help them learn mathematics. His response was to make and put up instructional videos on YouTube, which soon gained followers in the thousands. Salman quit the hedge fund and set up the non-profit Khan Academy, an open-access mathematics-learning program. Watch him tell his story: (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gM95HHI4gLk)

 

Daily Meditation

Introducing medication to school-age children and college students is giving them a wonderful and vital tool to increase their focus and decrease their stress. Meditation is a practice in which an individual uses a technique — such as mindfulness, or focusing the mind on a particular object, thought, or activity — to train attention 
and awareness, and achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm and stable state.Mediating daily, even for a time-period as short as five minutes, has been proven to increase both mental and physical capacities, and is starting to be implemented in several school systems throughout Europe and the United States. Focusing on your breath helps lower the stress level. Learning to let go is helpful both from a mental a physical standpoint.

 

Having a LMS (Life Mission Statement)

“Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.” —John Dewey


Mentors, advisors and teachers, inside or outside of the traditional educational system, are essential in helping students identify their strengths, increase their potential, but most of all discover what they want to achieve later in adult life and guide then on the path to get there.

 
Another tool can help young people (and not so young ones), and this outside of the school: Creating a Life Mission Statement! Creating an LMS (life mission statement) is important to make sure that short-term goals are aligned with long-term ones. One shouldn’t make a short-term decision without the clarity of the long-term goal in mind. When young people create an LMS, by themselves or with help, they can see the goal they want to attain in life sooner, helping them identify the path needed to reach their LSM. A parent, a mentor, or a teacher can help them in creating that LMS (keeping in mind that it can evolve as they are getting older and their priorities or context change).


 

Always continue learning (School life, everyday life and professional life)

“The purpose of learning is growth, and our minds, unlike our bodies, can continue growing as we continue to live.” —Mortimer Adler

Consider how to leave a beautiful legacy, either individually or collectively. Here I am also referring to a legacy of bringing up happy, healthy, and educated children. Children are the most precious assets of the future, hence the importance of offering them a world in a better shape than how we found it.
Please visit this website and share it with children in your life: https://www.kiocs.org/

 

Reaching one’s goals

As explained in my book How to Make Honey from Sour Grapes, my dreams of helping the Peace Process — in particular in the Middle East, but not only — are the equivalent of perhaps reaching the peak of a steep and formidable mountain. As I have often said, I do not anticipate reaching all my goals during my lifetime, but I will strive to do so. Therefore, while my goal is to reach the summit of that mountain called World Peace, I will certainly be very satisfied to reach any point along the way, just as long as I have had the opportunity to serve humanity. I believe one should always look at the summit of the mountain, even if they know they can’t reach it, because going up the path is what is important and the best way to create meaningful changes for us and others.

A Final Thought

To conclude this document I would like to quote Dr. Albert Schweitzer, who said, “I do not know what your destiny will be, but one thing I know: the only ones among you who will really be happy are those who will have sought and found a way to serve.” Personally, when I even attempt to be of service, it becomes a powerful tool that keeps me on my toes and boosts my energy. As a result, I wake up and face the day with a smile.

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Girl at school
FACTS:

263 million children and youth around the world are currently out of school. 53% of the world's out-of-school children are girls and 2/3 of the illiterate people in the world are women. Education empowers women to make healthy decisions about their lives.

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