Now, more so than ever before, it’s becoming important for young students to attend schools that reinforce positive values, such as high self-worth and a sense of community responsibility. Why do these programs matter? Not because students are unable to learn about self-worth and community value on their own. In fact, many students do. But when these lessons aren’t monitored, they often encourage negative values. They encourage young girls to be critical of their bodies, and they reinforce the idea in young men that masculinity is easily defined and is more important than anything else. This learning trend doesn’t just occur in the U.S.; a recent online article published by Worldcrunch.com makes it clear that a strong education, which specifically reinforces positive values, is proven to make a difference in students’ lives for long after they have graduated.The school profiled in the article is actually quite far from the U.S., and is located in Nepal. This school, called Samata School, reinforces the principle of equality so much that even the name, Samata, translates to “equality for all.” In a country where women are taught to place more value on sons than on daughters — to such an extent that parents do not even try to hide their disappointment when a girl is born — a group of revolutionary leaders are realizing that simply providing students with better education could change the way that gender is viewed. The private schools in Nepal are more likely to provide students with a well-rounded education, but the problem is that the tuition, which can cost as much as $30 per month (a very large sum of money in Nepal), is out of the price range of an average family. The Samata School, on the other hand, is offering high-quality private education for just one dollar a month. This one dollar covers a mere 10% of the cost, so the school relies heavily on donations. Nevertheless, the school has received widespread public support and each student passed the final exam with an average grade of 80.
Why should Americans care about this story? Quite simply, it proves how important a complete education is. Even though a lesson on gender equality seems to be completely unrelated to mathematics or grammar, it is just as important.
“This is something we also support here in Canada,” says Walter Ribeiro, Director of RHMS. “It is important that along with a strong education children are taught to have good values that will help them contribute to society with more than just their smarts.”
School systems that provide learning opportunities beyond textbook facts are more likely to give students the ability to change the world for the better. No matter where students live or which language is used to teach the lessons, it’s clear that teaching a wide array of positive values is essential for creating a healthy environment.