Next month I’ll be celebrating my first anniversary working in the amazing foundation of Educate-me we call ourselves world changers and here’s a little bit about what we do for you judge! “Educate-Me is a registered Egyptian non-profit foundation (registration number 8418) that was founded in June 2010 to redefine education in Egypt. We aspire to create an educational approach that would bring about people who pursue what they really want and would push boundaries in every field of knowledge, driven by their passion and curiosity. One that raises generations of learners, who can learn, unlearn and relearn, who have the courage and perseverance to change both themselves and the world around them; to create the world of their dreams.” Curious to know how it all started? check our website: http://educateme-egypt.org/
Oh … a hackerspace for children? Really?
Hey Asmaa, and welcome to Edgeryders I was curious and browsed through the website that you linked, and now I’m curious about how you are able to provide all that (also in terms of funding). The website mentions:
"the non-formal after-school program (serving children age 7-14 years) provides an open environment where children can choose what they want to learn on monthly basis, and are also encouraged to come up with their own projects. Among the different learning options are academic subjects (Arabic, English, Maths, digital literacy) as well as non-academics (judo, handicrafts, programming, robotics)." [source]
That sounds to me like a hackerspace for children? If so, that kind of learning would have been a dream come true for my own childhood. Because I always experienced formal schooling as a kind of suffocating, immobilizing environment.
So I’m curious, how are the authorities playing along and accepting the Educate-me activities? Esp. since you now intend to bring that kind of learning to schools …
Glad our website got you interested
To answer your first question, we depend on personal donation as well as grants and prizes we’ve won. A lot of people believe in what we;re doing and can see it’s effect on the kids we’re serving and so this keeps us going. It terms of human capacities, we’re are a large team but with only 7 full/part-timers and the rest are volunteers so this is financially good as well besides all the people working or volunteering at educate-me are driven by passion for the cause and work really hard to make what you read about happen.
I’m not very familiar with hackerspaces, but what’s described means our kids always have the freedom to choose what they want to learn. We present them with different programs from which they can choose from and at the same time listen for their suggestions. For example, I’m running a project-based learning program where the kids target is to get a land to make a playground as they don’t have a safe place to play around.
Currently we’re registered as an NGO and so we don’t have direct interaction with the authorities when it comes to education. However our ultimate aim is to affect the national educational policy by proving that our model works and bringing it to the officials to adopt in formal institutions.
Hope I’ve answered all your questions and you’re always welcomed to visit our community center to see by yourself!
alternatives for formal institutional education
Finally some talking about education
I am curious also like @Matthias about bringing this informal education into schools , What is the reaction of the authorities and what kind of cooperation do they have in mind , is it going to be like a new course " hessa " inside the normal way of education or what ?
and what do u think could happen to get these alternatives into a more wider audience ? Do u c that Educate me can be a FULL ALTERNATIVE like kids can drop school to join ?
I am not sure if u have read this about homeschooling in Egypt , what do u think about this alternative also
We’ve an approach to develop a set of skills and values in our kids which we believe would help them become self-actualized persons (persons who have the freedom and opportunity to aspire to what they want to be) and believe that self-actualized persons lead a happy life. This is done through the different programs we provide and we’re currently working to have a proof of concept which we can present to the official authorities to pilot in formal schools and see if it works!
As for being an alternative to formal schooling, we already have a number of kids who have never been to school or dropped out very early, with which we’ll start a non-formal schooling program late this year or early next week. We’ll observe and evaluate the process and can then decide if we do present an alternative to formal education. However a current indication for now is that we’ve kids who are enrolled in public schools but learn nothing and after spending a few months with us their literacy levels enhanced and they’re developing other skills.
Before joining educate-me I thought homeschooling is the way to go and it is still a valid alternative as well as a parent can do it but it’d be great if our model works as we imagine it
Please read my comment above for more answers