Pay Off: Kenyan President Daniel arap Moi is taking a strange
approach to teacher pay: The reportedly corrupt leader has announced
that his government will withhold educators' annual raises until
foreign aid starts flowing into the country again. The International
Monetary Fund and the World Bank suspended donations to Kenya in
January 2001 due to concerns about graft and mismanagement in the East
African state. Thousands of teachers have protested, and others are
planning to boycott classes if the policy is not changed, the
Covert Operation: As late as October, Palestinians living in the West Bank city of Nablus were converting mosques, empty factories, and apartments into covert classrooms for their children while a round-the-clock curfew was in place. The Israeli Army—which imposed the curfew in June to prevent militant attacks—allowed some schools to operate during the day, but about 60,000 children from outlying areas could not attend due to travel restrictions. While many of the volunteer-taught classes lacked textbooks and desks, residents were determined that their kids would not fall behind in their studies, teacher Fida al-Khayat told the Associated Press. "If we stay at home waiting for lifting the curfew, the students will lose their future," she said.
Religious Ruckus: For years, Greek parents have had to declare their children atheists to avoid religious classes in the public schools. But recently, a government committee recommended that the education ministry do away with the requirement because it's discriminatory and a violation of personal freedom, Reuters reports. Viewing the proposed reform as a dangerous change to the country's culture, the Greek Orthodox Church has vowed to fight the proposal as it winds its way through parliament.
School Shopping: Now, in addition to meat pies and Guinness beer, a British supermarket chain is offering after-school tutoring, the Daily Telegraph reports. Sainsbury's stores are renting aisle space to Explore Learning, a new company that operates the tutoring facilities, which focus on children ages 6 to 13. It's a service designed for families "who care about education ... but can't afford to go private," explains company founder Bill Mills. For a fee of about $80 per month, parents can drop off their kids at the kiosks, each staffed by four tutors, while they shop. There, students sharpen their math, spelling, and reading skills by playing educational computer games. They can also get individualized coaching from the center's staff. Parents receive progress reports at the end of each session, and students who complete specific challenges earn a prize and a certificate. The centers are proving popular with students and parents alike. "It's a way of extending [my son's] learning without him thinking he's still at school," one parent says.
Vol. 14, Issue 3, Page 11Published in Print: November 1, 2002, as Dispatches