Education through schooling is a widely debated topic among the local, state, and federal branches of the U.S. government. However, walk into any middle school or high school around the United States, and an almost unanimous outcry from students suggests their opinion is clear: “school sucks!” Rolling one’s eyes at relentless duty of homework seems to be competing with baseball for “America’s favorite pastime.” Living in one of the richest countries in the world, most United States students can socially afford to overlook the importance of our accessible education model. In a country where education is so integrated in the culture, it is easy to forget that access to global education reduces poverty.
From elementary to high school, a standardized public curriculum provided by the government regulates the quality and effectiveness of students’ education. To the Educational Development Center (EDC), this education model is considered an intellectual utopia.
EDC is a global nonprofit organization that manages 250 projects working with 35 developing countries on 6 continents, designing programs that address the challenges in educational, health, and economic issues resulting from poverty.
Founded in 1958, EDC began empowering impoverished communities through public sector and private partnerships to improve education, workforce preparation, and civic engagement, among others.
While project specifics are diverse, EDC’s methods are united through their advocacy for “learning as a liberating force in human development.” EDC uses their programs to help participants build the knowledge and skills to contribute to and take ownership of their own deeper understanding of the world. Through engaging learners as active participants in their own intellect, EDC students can educate others around them, creating a more educated, self-sufficient community.
Through their main office in Waltham, Massachusetts, EDC’s work consists of three specific divisions: Health and Human Development, International Development, and Learning and Teaching. By receiving grants and contracts from U.S. local, state, and federal agencies, foreign governments, universities, corporations, and other private foundations, EDC is able to carry out the specific projects nested in these three categories.
EDC expressed its appreciation for the funding. “As a publicly supported, publicly accountable organization, we have a special obligation to carry out work of the highest quality and integrity… …Whether we are developing radio lessons for primary school children in remote villages, producing unbiased news programming for a conflict-torn country, writing an HIV/AIDS curriculum, or convening a youth leadership forum, EDC is committed to in-country partnerships, deep respect for local knowledge and culture, and collaborative decision-making.”
Projects in Africa, Australia, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, Latin America and throughout North America provide services to teach research methods and train participants in education strategies in activities ranging from start-up projects to large-scale national and international strategies.
EDC’s international work consists of national school reform efforts, technology integration, HIV/AIDS, youth development initiatives, and support for an active citizen presence in local governance.
Some of EDC’s areas of expertise include professional development, training, technology research and application, curriculum development, and providing a basic education for the world’s poor.
Although some young students of the United States may be impartial to the beauty of schooling and education, specific leaders in congress feel it is important to fund EDC and other passionate programs about these issues. To contribute to the support of EDC, The Borgen Project, and others, please visit the “Give” section of this site.
– Kali Faulwetter