In our current society, we are dealing with systemic dysfunctions in education, politics, religion, and cultural tolerance. However, we live in a world of constant changes, and it demands a society capable of solving problems with simple and innovative solutions on a daily basis. Therefore, in times like ours, it is amazing to see how education plays a vital role when related to shaping our society’s future.
When it comes to my story with education, I can start it by saying that both my parents came from underprivileged families. Fortunately, my parents overcame most of those circumstances, and, although my mother studied only until high school, my father was the first person in my family to obtain a college degree. This family historical made me not only grow up in a context not as conturbed as my parents’ but also understand the power that education can have on a family’s trajectory.
Hence, I grew up doing my best to be a hardworking student and to help others around me, from answering my classmates’ doubts related to school content to engaging in volunteer projects related to education. When I entered my first year of high school, I became coordinator of an initiative called +Futuro, which aims to offer online mentorship for high school students in 5 subjects: Portuguese, Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, and Biology. A few months later, I also became the coordinator of projects and innovation of ImpactaJovem Brasil, which aims to encourage youth engagement through a volunteer network, school monitoring, and educational opportunities. Through those experiences, it was the first time that I got in contact with students from all over Brasil and could see that there were a lot of people wanting to contribute to a better education for our country. However, it was also the first time that I could understand how different socioeconomic background can be influential in a person’s quality of education.
In 2017, those experiences helped me to be selected to participate in the Conferência Mapa Educação, where we developed placements and action plans which reflects the vision of students from all over Brazil on guidelines such as the Common National Base and the High School Reform. In the same year, I received a full scholarship to the pre-college program at The New School University. During this course, I developed research, wrote an article and presented on the theme “How Cultural and Religious Beliefs related to Gender can affect girls’ access to primary education in rural areas of Pakistan” (You can click here to read my article). Participating in all those opportunities made me realize how important education is in shaping a person’s future, but also opened my eyes to the problems happening in our educational system.
Through these hands-on experiences, I understood that merely sitting in a chair and studying all day long is not enough for a person to develop their attributes such as their opinions, ideas, goals, passions, and personality. While our world needs thinkers, our educational system still carries the vestiges of Fordism, in which the perspective of mass production and quantity over quality also applies to schools and the learning process. I realized how insufficient our system is to meet our students’ needs since most schools and teachers do not even believe in our capacity to make meaningful contributions to our society. I realized that they just cared about grades, but I believed scores were not the only aspect of determining a person’s ability to be a prosperous citizen in the future.
Therefore, by better comprehending those problems, I got interested in this topic and, after broader research, I realized it was possible to improve our educational system with the influence of social entrepreneurship. This interest of mine led me to develop the “Virtual Conference of Youth Leadership.” My goal with it was to create a tool that encourages students to expand their horizons and also to stimulate the ones who are so underestimated by their schools. This conference was 100% virtual, which allowed the participation of more than 400 young people enrolled in the event. Additionally, it had 15 roundtables to discuss the role of youth in topics such as the development of sustainable technologies, entrepreneurship, political renewal in the country and the defense of greater representation of minorities in politics, as well as the search for quality education. The conference counted with personalities such as Joana D’arc Felix (awarded with more than 50 career awards and Ph.D. by Harvard University) and Tabata Amaral (a political scientist from Harvard University and co-founder of the Acredito Movement). Also, it had the presence of representatives of the UN Environment in Brazil and ABRIC, (Brazilian Association of Incentive to Science), Politize! (political education platform), among others.
Through the Conference, I realized how I find fascinating the potential that our youth has to offer to society, mainly when related to new explorations, discussions, and creativity. Therefore, I became interested in developing new strategies and solutions to educational issues to encourage this potential to emerge in our students. Through all of those experiences, I realized that what I most want and like to do is to work with education, especially in Brazil.
Finally, as the image of the post says, I firmly believe that education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the future since it is through education that we will be capable of shaping tomorrow’s leaders and help them to achieve their maximum potential to help our communities.
Now, what about you?
Do you also think education plays a vital role in our society? What are you doing to help to improve our educational system?
It does not matter your age, country, gender or economic background. If you also believe in the importance of education and you understand the problems that we as students need to face every single day, you can do something about it! Don’t be afraid to dream big, even if people around you start to say that you may not achieve your goals.
“You must be the change you want to see in the world” – Mahatma Gandhi
If you really want to see change happening around you, you shouldn’t hope for it to happen alone. All kinds of transformation around us start with only a sparkle, which even small is capable of starting a huge fire.