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The Education Forum

Education for development

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DfID (department for international development) and CIDA (Canadian international development association) and many other development organisatios spend silly amounts of money each year sending teachers over to developing countries to 'help'. Those teachers return home feeling that either

  • They were no help at all
  • They helped some people but not many
  • They did help but that the experience benefitted them more than the people that they were sent to help
  • That they perform a more important task when they return home, in the form of advocacy work and awareness raising

I would probably place myself in the third category and I would argue that, if that is the case, then surely it would make more sense to bring teachers from developing countries over to the UK or Canada, or wherever becasue that way the money spent would surely benefit the right people and any advocacy work can be done by the teachers from the developing country and not well meaning white folks.

Sadly, there is little/no funding available for that kind of thing and if people want to do this they have to hold fundraisers in their schools. The reason being that for DfID or CIDA to fund anything, that funding must benefit the British or the Canadian economy.

Even as an advocacy worker if I were to apply for some money from CIDA to put together some worksheets about global education I MUST include evidence of the good work that CIDA is doing in international development. I could almost accept that if I were applying for funding from Shell, which after all is a business, but CIDA funds come from the tax payer and are supposed to be spent on altruistic projects not on promoting the Canadian government.

Am I just being cynical, or is current 'development education' developing the wrong countries?


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