Scituate Students Enjoy an Abundance of Opportunities

How is education around the world different from our experiences in Scituate?

Kara Murray, Contributing Writer

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When we, as Scituate High School students, think of education, we think of long, exhausting days and nights slaving away over hours of homework.  When we, as residents of Scituate, Massachusetts, think of education, we probably think of how we are one of hundreds of thousands attending public school every day, taking the same classes, and learning the same curriculum.

But what we often disregard is our position of students in the world.  And, yes, we are well aware of our good fortune — to be attending school in such an affluent town with so much of the budget invested in the education system, no better demonstrated by the constant crashing and clanging we have to endure for the new middle school.  Sometimes, though, we really do not realize just how incredibly valuable our time at this high school will be.

Most people who do not attend school live in severe poverty and are forced into child labor or marriages to support their families.  Across the globe, just 1 out of every 100 people attend college. At SHS, I am sure the vast majority of us intend on applying to a college or university, which begs a question: How many other people are not in school around the globe if we represent 1 of each 100?

The answer is unknown. Counting children in impoverished countries who do not go to school is an impossible task, but UNICEF estimates it to be well over a hundred million; these children not in school are disproportionately young girls. Two-thirds of the illiterate population of the globe are women, despite intense efforts over the last decade to enroll more girls in school.  Dedicated efforts from activists like Malala Yousafzai, who was infamously shot in the face by the Taliban back in October of 2012 for her passionate activism for Pakistani girls’ right to education, and Muzoon Almellehan, often referred to as the “Malala of Syria,” have attracted global attention to the complex issue of education inequity, especially regarding women.

According to the Malala Fund, there are tragically 130 million girls out of school currently.  However, with 12 years of education, women are less likely to become pregnant at a young age and die as a result.  In fact, investment in women’s education has been shown to save lives this way by promoting smaller families, stimulating economic growth with working women, and even decreasing child marriage rates.

It is difficult to generalize so broadly, but in Scituate, gender, poverty, and rural location do not affect the education of students nearly as much as other continents.  Being raised in a small, quiet town has granted us an infinite number of opportunities.  I have traveled across the U.S., and I’ve even left the country because of educational trips. The first time I left the country was with my eighth grade French class: In April of 2016, we traveled to blustery Quebec City to develop our language skills and learn more about Francophone culture.  Enriching your education here in Scituate is not difficult, as we have a myriad of extracurriculars, athletic teams, and employment opportunities to chose from.  All of these contribute to the people this school is cultivating and the community we are creating, as the next generation of educated students.

Before we complain about our high school experience, we have a duty to consider the opportunities we are granted. Our education system is certainly flawed: standardized testing dominates elementary and secondary schools instead of hands-on learning, rigorous course loads cause high levels of competition, and high rates of depression and anxiety all indicate our system has room for improvement.  But we are all still very privileged in comparison to the children around the world who will never see the inside of a school.

I urge you to conduct your own research on education inequity across the globe and donate to organizations if you can. We can’t change the fact that we were educated in Scituate, but we can change the world.

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Scituate Students Enjoy an Abundance of Opportunities