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Comparative

Perspectives on Education

Education varies by numerous different factors when comparing the global north and global
south, and one of the most important aspects that differentiates the two is the availability of
school supplies. In this commentary, I will be comparing the relationship between the
availability of school supplies in Alberta and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

In grade 12 I was a part of a fundraiser named
SOS For Haiti, and we held a fundraiser to
obtain money and school supplies to create
about 50 school care packages with pencils,
pens, notebooks, and more. As a result, we
directly witnessed the impact that we had on
these students lives1.

The Alberta education system is a world
renown system that often places high on the
world education rankings. In the Programme
for International Student Assessment in 2006, Alberta scored second highest in the science
category, tied for third in reading and fifth for mathematics2. The primary reason why Alberta is
able to be a leader in education is the fact that Alberta is located in a developed country with a
high quality of life. As a province in a developed global north country, the Alberta school system
has access to superior school supplies when compared to most other countries, and has many
initiatives such as the Tools For School campaign which encourages the community to make
contributions for school supplies3.

In the DR Congo, because of extreme poverty and a lack of internal and external assistance, the
supplies that are received and used by students in schools is limited. As a result, less than a
third of students in the DR Congo attend secondary school, and about 5% of students go on to
attend university or college4. The DR Congo is constantly under violence, and the lack of funding
doesnt allow many children to attend school because of their need to work to earn money for
their family.

Teaching and learning appear to be very different between these two contexts. In Alberta, the
strong economy allows for the purchase of school supplies to aid in childrens learning, whereas
in the DR Congo, the weak economy and violence create an unfavourable environment for
students seeking access to school supplies. Students in developing countries lack the education

http://www.yorkregion.com/news-story/4255723-westmount-students-reach-out-to-haitiphilippines/
2
http://internationalservices.rdpsd.ab.ca/Results.php
3
http://myunitedway.ca/tools-for-school
4
http://www.our-africa.org/democratic-republic-of-congo/education-jobs
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that they deserve because of this limited access to school supplies as teachers cannot truly
unlock the full learning potential of the classes through immersive learning.

As a developed country, we can learn about the impact of limited school supplies on students in
developing countries. School supplies are relatively cheap given the potential and opportunities
that they provide to students, and developed countries should seek to provide more assistance
to foster educational growth and advance the development of these countries.

In conclusion, the lack of school supplies directly correlates to the economic status of a country.
By providing assistance from purchasing school supplies, developed countries have the ability
to create a lasting impact of students growth and learning abilities.