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The Gift of an Education
an article by Anna Aluko

I went to school today to get what they call an education. As I sat down in my biology, chemistry, sociology and history classes, I listened to the professors and took notes in the lectures: it was supposed to help me pass my exams and get the well-grounded perspective on life. I must admit that sometimes I wondered why I was in class.

Then it dawned on me that there was a reason why I was in class. As Nikki Giovanni, a renowned poetry author said during a speech at University of Connecticut ďIf I was taller or had the talent of a basketball player, a gymnast or a singer, I would not be here [sitting in class]. Instead I would be using my talents to earn millions and improve my life and the lives of people around me. But in reality, I am short, canít shoot a hoop, but Iím half-smart and I need to use what I have in order to make something of myself in this society.Ē I do partially agree with Ms. Giovanni, I donít have the talents of an athlete but I am an intelligent person and I can use this to make something of myself? This to me is the gift of getting an education.

Pursuing an education will get me to graduate from college and hopefully get a job and earn a living that will improve my life and the lives of those around me. This is my ticket to opportunity. Above all, education helps me have a voice in promoting peace. I learn and am conscious of my rights and the human rights of others. It also makes me aware of the news and events around the world, and through learning, teaches me different methods in which I could help my community. As a result I am empowered to help educate my peers. I am part of a Human Rights Student Ambassadors program under the support of the UNESCO chair; we go into high schools to educate the students on many human right issues.

Because of this, tomorrow I will pay closer attention in class, because using your own talents can get you somewhere.


Question(s) related to this article:

How do we promote a human rights, peace based education?,

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Latest reader comment:

Question: what is the relation between peace and education?

We teach the science of war on an even and equal basis with the 3Rs and we maintain it with more resources than any other school. Further, we have done this consistently for a couple of thousand years, long before education was institutionalized for all children. And we have never questioned the wisdom of teaching millions of civilians how to kill while never giving the same credence, or any for that matter, to the science of peace, the study of anti-war, of reconciliation. With this inured mindset leaders choose to fund boot camps and officer training colleges and by omission deprive youth of the better choice.

If we can teach war and violence with such commitment to suit the purposes of generals and the arms trade, where are the rest of us who have a greater need for peace and conciliation than anyone anywhere has for the killing fields? Why have civilians not demanded peace education long ago and why don't we have it now?

This report was posted on December 4, 2004.