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Education for all

Five bloggers, five countries, one dialogue

Degrees and educational milestones

My English exam certificate

The week seems to have gone great! I’ve read the entries by Kathrin and Emmy from the Global Media Forum, which I find quite interesting. In spite of the red tape that prevented me from visiting the conference and meeting my fellow bloggers, several positive things relating to education happened to me, as well, this week. They brought about a storm of emotions, but they also gave some food for thought.

First of all, shortly before the launch of our education blog, a group of my adult students and I took part in an international English exam. And I’m really glad to hear that most of my students passed it successfully and got their certificates from Europe this week!

During the course we’ve also touched upon their expectations and life goals. Despite having different ages and positions in society, everyone agreed that learning a foreign language would give them many more opportunities abroad. For some, that meant in terms of working (one of my students was an international journalist). For others, it was about having the chance to study abroad. Some even hinted at encouraging their children to emigrate – if they end up not doing it themselves (This is a topic I discussed here). I hope the summer will give my students a chance to put their skills into practice and endow them with new ambitions.

Summer: time for some relaxation

Secondly, my university group had to go through defending our senior theses, the research papers that are required to earn our degrees – and we did it successfully! Looking back on the months we spent on preparing our research and analyzing statistics, I wonder to myself whether out efforts were worth it; did we pursue anything apart from getting a top mark? But unfortunately, I cannot answer with an emphatic “yes.” Why?

Well, any department offers its students a range of topics for their senior papers – but in regional universities, there are more chances to get a topic that has nothing to do with real life and the skills you may need in building your future. It’s mostly because some universities give courses for appearances’ sake – to show off (“Look, we’ve opened a new department this year – it’s like in the X university, which is in the top 50 in Russia. Of course, what they do not say is: We don’t have enough staff to deal with the curriculum and the equipment is a bit out-of-date.”). This is where the issue of a degree’s value arises. Still, in my group there were research papers devoted either to the professional sphere (a project on a new type of language school) or to vital social topics (like tolerance).

It kind of makes me think of Pink Floyd and the image of a wall. In a positive sense, I now have a new brick to add to my educational wall, and I intend to continue building it.


June 30, 2012 | 3:58 pm