Over last two weeks, our bright students talked about education in both countries of United States and Afghanistan. I think one of the only reasons that make United States very different from Afghanistan is the educational system. Therefore, in our Skype project we tried to highlight this concept by selecting it as the topic of the week.
Reema Furkan, a junior in St. Timothy’s School, Skyped with Maryam Danish from Afghanistan, a student in American University of Afghanistan. They learned a lot about their educational system. However, the difference that they were surprised the most about was the fact that in Afghanistan girls and boys study in separate classroom but in America boys and girls learn in the same classroom. Reema said, “It is surprising to see how people set rules and laws to make sure that the students stay focused on their academics.” In addition, sometimes in Afghanistan teachers use physical punishment to manage the class, while in America physical punishment is absolutely forbidden. Reema said that she was grateful to learn the ways the two countries were different and similar in handling their educational system.
As an Afghan girl who has been studying in a very privileged boarding school in United States for past two years, I think one of the biggest differences between education in Afghanistan and America is how much it is appreciated. I feel that in Afghanistan students appreciate educational opportunities more because it is a privilege to be able to go to school. However, education is mandatory in America and students take it for granted which makes it seem that it is very natural to be able to go to school. In some villages in Afghanistan, for example, girls walk two hours to go to a school that does not even provide adequate books, uniforms, or seats in the classroom. I never forget when I used to cross through the crowded areas of Kabul; there were some boys and girls selling books, shopping bags, or balloons to support their families. Once, I bought a balloon and asked an eight years old boy if he went to school, and he said he did, but had to keep working in order to support his family and afford going to school.
In America, however, education is viewed very differently. Since education is unquestionably provided, people tend to focus on staying competitive. Having good grades and being a good student is not enough. Having a leadership position or being good athlete is as important as the academic background. Some parents pay thousands of dollars to send their children to the best kinder gardens, so they can get to the best middle schools, and then the best high schools and finally end up going to the best colleges. Even after college, students have to stay competitive for the best jobs available. Competition makes people more productive, practical and creative. People in America view education is a tool for improvement and a key to success whereas in Afghanistan students view education as a tool to survive and build a happy life.
The great thing about both countries is that education is valued greatly. Appreciation and healthy competition is enough for our generation to make the world a better place.