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Third-World countries lack adequate educational facilities

Published: Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Updated: Tuesday, September 24, 2013 10:09

In a nation that openly criticizes such legislation as the No Child Left Behind Act, it is necessary to recognize that despite the problems with the standardized tests that are required to receive federal funding, we, as Americans, are fortunate to live in a country whose leaders value education.

The British Broadcasting Company has recently reported on the education crisis currently taking place in selected areas of Israel.

To enter the Shuafat Elementary School for Girls located in Eastern Jerusalem, it is necessary to sidestep through rubble and broken glass and ascend rickety stairs. The school has been open for 15 years and was originally designed to house a single family, yet 256 girls are forced to the crowded rooms every day if they wish to receive any type of an education.

The students at Shuafat are young girls between the ages of six and 10, and many of them are too small to be able to descend the stairs leading out the door, that, by the way, doesn't meet fire regulations, without stumbling.

Jerusalem experiences temperature extremes, yet Shuafat has only a small fan in the front of the room for the summer heat waves and a small electric heater in the back of the room to combat the frigid winters.

Sanitation is limited, and there are only three toilets reeking of mold and filth located outside of the building that service the entire school.

It is predicted that, using figures from a six-year-old City Hall report, there is currently a shortage of 1,500 classrooms.

In East Jerusalem only half of the school-aged children are enrolled in a public institution and while some are enrolled in unofficial or private institutions, it is estimated that over 10 percent of the school aged children are receiving no formal education.

Unfortunately, this individual account in not an isolated situation. In fact, such conditions are commonplace for students in many Third-World countries.

I have no suggestions for the local governments regarding this problem nor do I know a way that we, as Americans, can help. However, it is necessary to take a step back and appreciate what we have.

The United States government is far from flawless, and yes, much of the legislation passed by the federal government regarding education is borderline unconstitutional, but at least the government cares about the future of its youth. Knowledge truly is power, and we are fortunate to have the ability to acquire an education at the primary, secondary and higher levels.

There is much to complain about, but sometimes it is important to take a moment to step outside and realize that we truly are blessed.

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