An essay written on 7th April 2012 for DREaM UGM 2012
According to the official website of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) official website, “Today, 75 million children are excluded from education. Seven out of ten live in sub-Saharan Africa or South and West Asia. Sixty per cent of them are girls living in Arab States and sixty-six per cent in South and West Asia. The main reasons for exclusion are poverty, gender inequity, disability, child labor, speaking a minority language, belonging to an indigenous people, and living a nomadic or rural lifestyle.”1 This fact depicts an ironic reality of how education should’ve been in this world – a human right that shall be free and accessible for every individual. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights article 26 verse 1 says “Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.”2
Unfortunately the current common educational system seems unable to bring that ideal into practice. The reasons hover not only around what’s mentioned earlier by UNESCO, but price is also an important matter. If it’s to be analogized, common education’s already been commercialized – the educational institutions as capital-owners and us, the society as proletarians. The capital-owners can set the price as they wish. Even though advance facilities become their excuse and theoretically government can set the ceiling-price (maximum price), we still don’t see the price is affordable, moreover for the lower-economic-class of the society.
Since common educational system cannot be dependable, we believe another solution is needed as education must still be accessible for every individual. Thus the idea of alternative education popped-up in the society, and the practice’s been there as well. Alternative education is an approach of education which is different from the common one. It’s usually in the form of small learning communities, individualized and personalized instruction. There are a number of types of alternative education, geared at a wide variety of students, and many nations have some form of alternative educational option available for people who want it, especially in urban areas.
We believe alternative education can meet the necessity of those who find it hard to reach the common educational system. Education is a right. Therefore, it becomes our moral obligations to provide and to serve. Those who can, do. Those who can do more, volunteer. Applying alternative education widely in the society will at least help them to get a better living through education.
Footnotes: 1 http://www.unesco.org/new/en/education/themes/strengthening-education-systems/inclusive-education/, accessed on April 2nd 2012. 2 http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/, accessed on April 2nd 2012.