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Geography 400 Class Blog
Class project for Geography 400
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NYTimes Video: Apartheid Haunts South Africa's Schools

NYTimes Video: Apartheid Haunts South Africa's Schools | Geography 400 Class Blog | Scoop.it
Celia Dugger reports from the Kwamfundo School near Cape Town on South Africa's struggling public education system.

 

This poignant clip shows that South Africa may be in a post-apartheid era, but most certainly not a post-racial era as schools are as deeply divided as ever. 

 

APR-

Can we ever really say that apartheid or other racist forms of discriminatory government are ever really gone? While on paper it's been 18 years since the democratic elections heralded he beginning of “equality” can it be said that there has been a true sea change? The rules of apartheid didn’t simply dissolve overnight – the teachers that are currently educating the newly “equal” were themselves educated under a system that promoted “black African” or “coloured” people as best suited to hard labour and service industries.

When the educators are not all “engaged” in the school and students, it will have a negative impact on the quality of education. The statistic where many teachers come in late or simply don’t show up at all shows that the students themselves, while suffering, have a solution: teach it themselves. In the education system that we are indoctrinated into would a student be held accountable for educating his or her peers in lieu of a teacher? Of course not.

There is another shocking statistic: less that 50% graduate high school and a smaller minority ever goes on to higher education. In Rhode Island, Central Falls is often seen as the “worst” performing school district, but if InfoWorks 2012 is correct 70.3% of students graduate high school, with a further 1.2% completing a GED program. What would our country look like if only 50% of our students graduated? Would they feel that they had "won freedom?"


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Maegan Connor's curator insight, December 17, 2013 8:43 PM

In this video, it is inspiring to see the South African children have big dreams regardless of the situation in their country.  Even though they are impoverished and the public school system remains segragated and insufficient, they have hope.  Apartheid left deep scars on the country of South Africa and the kids in this video quite obviously still have hard times but they strive for education that is now available to them, continuing to work in the absence of teachers and struggling home lives.

Cam E's curator insight, March 18, 12:44 PM

With apartheid having just recently ended in the scope of history, this is not surprising. Tensions will always exist after conflicts, segregation, or wars for many in the generations that experienced it. Time will tell how South Africa handles this situation, but as it is now many of these children's parents were deeply involved or effected by the apartheid system.

Ido Lifshitz's curator insight, April 21, 6:40 PM

most of the whites study in private school which they get there better education , and it's very expensive so only few  of the black get the money to study there, however the blacks have Affirmative Action to get to the university after the school

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Troubles on Russia's Lake Baikal

Troubles on Russia's Lake Baikal | Geography 400 Class Blog | Scoop.it
Workers at an ailing paper mill in Siberia are clinging to their jobs in the face of financial pressure and criticism from environmentalists.


The environment, industry and politics play key roles in this story of an old style Soviet mono-town on Lake Baikal.  Monotowns had planned economies that revolved around one industry and today many of these are struggling in the post-Soviet era.  While the particulars of the political situation are a bit dated, the overall issue is still quite relevant to understanding Russia today.   


Tags: Russia, industry, labor, environment, economic, water, pollution, environment modify, unit 6 industry.


Via Seth Dixon
Mr. Rodrigues's insight:

Even though I lived through the dissolution of the USSR, it's hard to imagine a world where the government would create an entire industry, whiunjust has no means of sustainability without the government feeding supplies and consuming the products. 

 

This when coupled with the environmental damage done by simply using the lake as a dumping ground shows that while the "short game" mig have looked rosy to outsiders, the "long game" wasn't even an afterthought for those in charge.

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Brett Sinica's curator insight, October 20, 2013 2:43 PM

The story of this particular mono-town is very tough to "pick sides".  The factory undoubtedly pollutes the air and land like most other industrial areas, but being so close to Lake Baikal gives environmentalists a stronger reason to complain.  The lake is considered one of the purest and most unique in the world, yet the paper mill located on its banks raise controversy.  This is where the locals and workers are stuck between a rock and hard place.  Located in Siberia, such a vast and open region with little settlements compared to the western part of the country reminds the people living there that their resources are limited.  Closing down the factory would almost eliminate income and economy for the mono-town.  This is where the fine line is drawn; the workers surely aren't happy about the pollution and environmental hazards that go along with keeping the mill open, but at the same time the people could wither away if it wasn't up and running.

Ashley Raposo's curator insight, December 19, 2013 1:42 AM

THough the Soviet Union has been gone since the early 90s, it's hold on Russia is still creating problems. The creations of monotowns were already flawed. But to have this one monotown on Lake Baikal has gained the attention of enviromentalists. All odds are against that monotown. Without it's paper factory they have no jobs and no need for the town. It is a fight between enviromental geography and human geography in this area of the world. These people are stuck in a time where even the Soviet Union looked a little better than the constant wondering of your finacial stability in an up and coming capitalist nation.

Paige Therien's curator insight, May 4, 12:05 PM

The Soviet Union scattered "monotowns" around their territory; these monotowns consist of a job-creating industrial institutions like factories which then allow the formation of towns around them.  They are located all around the former Soviet Union and are very isolated.  After the collapse of the Soviet Union, these towns continued to run due to the privatization of the industrial center.  Today, Russia's Lake Baikal, which is the deepest lake in the world and contains 20 percent of the Earth's fresh water, is home to one of these monotowns.  This particular town's economy is based on their paper mill which uses and deposits tons of chemicals.  Environmentalists are very concerned for the future of the lake while the citizens are only concerned with feeding their families and this is creating social unrest.  Due to the isolation and distance from Moscow, people cannot just pick up and leave.  Also, working with "cleaner" alternatives is way out of this town's budget.  Today, many citizens in these monotowns miss the support that the Soviet Union offered and people are literally stuck in a place where their only income is dirty.

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Taking Root: The Vision of Wangari Maathai

Taking Root tells the dramatic story of Kenyan Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Wangari Maathai whose simple act of planting trees grew into a nationwide movement ...

 

Community, agriculture, gender, politics and the environment... it's all here in this inspiring clip.  

 

APR: It's good to see that, despite the repression, Wangari Maathai maintained her vision - and contributed to reforms in the government. Her goal of "reforesting" will also benefit the entire planet, and truly survive as a legacy to her country and people.


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Crissy Borton's curator insight, December 11, 2012 9:22 PM

This is such an inspiring video. All it took was for one women, Wangari Maathai, to have an idea and to stand up for that idea for change to take place. How cool that from that one women a government was changed at 35 million trees planted!

Ana Cristina Gil's curator insight, December 10, 2013 7:02 PM

To me seem that it was more than just planting trees. Is was a way for this woman to have some type of control. Their story show how nothing is impossible, that sometimes we think that whatever little thing we do, it would not make a different. Those woman illustrate that no matter how powerless you feel. If you believe in something no stop until you get it accomplished.

Kenny Dominguez's curator insight, December 12, 2013 1:20 AM

It seems that the people depend on planting. it also hurts that these people have little access to water. Where other parts in this world there is too much water and it is hurting the people. It is devastating what is happening to them. The trees that are planted could help them get water in some kind of way. But it might take them a while because to grow a tree it takes years to grow.