NI 505 - Bad Education - September, 2017

NI 505 - September, 2017

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Bad Education

A note from the editor

Hazel Healy

Being the best

Do you ever get that ‘I wish I’d been a teacher’ moment?

I get it, sometimes – usually at my seven-year-old son’s ‘sharing assemblies’. Hundreds of children fill the school hall, which is decorated by supersized creations – paintings, mobiles, 3-D shapes. Parents squeeze in at the back, teachers line the sides, using emphatic sign language, fingers to lips, to keep this jiggling, fidgety mass quiet and seated.

The headteacher welcomes everyone and cracks a few jokes. On stage, Year 2 pass around a microphone with excruciating slowness, making mostly inaudible statements about a recent school trip, to parents’ collective, ill-concealed delight.

The older children are gracious. They are used to this. Everyone gets a turn here – it’s built in the fabric of the school. The assemblies are all delivered under the motto over the stage that reads ‘Live, love, learn and be happy’. This order is important and not coincidental. Headteacher Rachel Crouch – a lifelong subscriber to New Internationalist, from whom you will hear more shortly – has always made hers an inclusive, welcoming school with equity at its heart.

But in this magazine we look at how the noble endeavour that is education – the kind that gives you the ‘wish I’d been a teacher moment’ – is under threat from powerful business interests, while introducing you to those working to take things in a different direction.

Elsewhere in the September edition, we unpick why stories that claim to reveal a biological basis to differences between men and women are so persistently popular and learn about how private corporations in Peru are hiring out the police to do their dirty work.

Hazel Healy for the New Internationalist co-operative.

Keynote article.

A child practises writing the days of the week on the wall of her house in Meme, Cameroon.

A child practises writing the days of the week on the wall of her house in Meme, Cameroon.

Photo: Chris de Bode / Panos

Back to the drawing board

The Right has captured education all over the world. Hazel Healy makes the case for how to do things differently.

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They are calling it ‘the intellectual massacre’. Since the attempted coup against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in July 2016, he has systematically purged educators who criticize his government, accusing them of terrorism.

Teachers are one of the biggest groups to be affected by Ankara’s post-coup crackdown. Erdoğan has sacked and blacklisted tens of thousands across the country, prompting one woman to say her government was targeting their very ‘existence’ with its actions....


Indigenous children are disproportionately left behind.

Leave no-one behind?

An update on progress towards the dream of universal education

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Education for all – The facts

A snapshot of progress, setbacks and future prospects

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Will Google take over the classroom?

Silicon Valley types say that with enough data, they can ‘fix’ education. Where are the teachers in this grand plan? asks Tamasin Cave.

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Education by e-book? A teacher and her class at low-cost private school  Bridge in Mpigi, Uganda.

Between a shark and the deep sea

Can a US chain of profit-making schools really help the poor? Patience Akumu reports on the impact of Bridge academies in Uganda.

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Mistaking high test scores in China as a measure of quality, the West has adopted an exam-orientated system.

Fatal attraction

Why is the West racing to copy Asia’s education system as fast as the East scrambles to reform it? Yong Zhao takes to task an unhealthy and deluded romanticization of education.

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Education against the odds. Yemeni children attend classs in a school building damaged by a Saudi-led air strike in Taez.

Education otherwise

The world is full of extraordinary schools. We feature three inspirational stories about courageous teachers, second-chance education and progressive pedagogy in Yemen, South Sudan and Colombia.

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Deliver us from Venus and Mars

Newspapers love to dish up stories of inherent differences between the sexes because we lap them up. Gavin Evans reflects on why we are still so susceptible.

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Police come up behind a protester opposed to the Tintaya Copper mine in 2012. Their violence later resulted in three deaths.

When the police are paid by the mine

Stephanie Boyd reports on a growing trend of private corporations hiring public law enforcers to protect their interests.

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‘Your example lights the way for a new dawn,’ reads this monument in La Higuera.

On the trail of Che

A wave of nostalgia is sweeping Latin America as the 50th anniversary of the death of Che Guevara approaches. Julio Etchart follows the ‘Che route’ to the remote spot where the revolutionary icon was executed.

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Web exclusives.

‘This is cultural genocide’

Indigenous communities in Colombia refuse to occupy an empty space in history, and believe their very cultural survival is at stake, reports Hazel Healy.

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Read more web-exclusives...



Praise, blame and all points in between? Your feedback published in the September 2017 magazine.

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Risking it

The wealthy West is an irresistible dream to many Bolivians, as Amy Booth discovers.

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Clockwise from top left: Wealthier nomads visit the capital on holiday, or retire there; the old and the new (and, until recently, the incessant construction) in the Ulaanbaatar skyline; a metal colossus celebrating the construction of the Darkhan Metallurgical Plant; a Mongolian hero of World War Two feeds pigeons in the streets of Ulaanbaatar; but the traditional life on the steppes goes on, as Degi demonstrates how he practises horse riding.

Country Profile: Mongolia

Times are hard. High unemployment, rampant inflation and a collapse in the value of the tugrik, reports Tina Burrett and Christopher Simons.

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And finally... Emel Mathlouthi

Tunisian singer Emel talks to Graeme Green about hope, helplessness and the Arab Spring.

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Film, Book & Music Reviews.

Quest – a compelling, low-key US doc about patient, caring people.

Mixed Media: Films

In Between; Quest; ¿Donde estás María?

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Wearing their oddness proudly, Colombia's gloriously unbounded Meridian Brothers.

Mixed Media: Music

¿Donde estás María?; Strangers

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Mixed Media: Books

Democracy in Chains; Kingdom Cons; Art Sex Music; Don't Panic, I'm Islamic

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Also out there...

Why Did We Stop Growing Tall?; Frank London and the Glass House Orchestra; The Work; Wind River; The Scribe; Loot; Entertaining Mr Sloane; No is not enough: defeating the new shock politics.

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