“I’m now a more confident liberal”
The twelve days workshop was a great experience I learned numerous things about education delivery mechanisms, problems associated with education in different countries, education from a liberal perspective, the future of education, the need for technological innovation different models of financing education and many other related subjects.
I also got an opportunity to share different perspectives and ideas with people from all parts of the globe and learn from their experiences. I really enjoyed the other parts of the seminar also: the food, the accommodation and the travels in Germany. All this, made the twelve days even more special.
A pro-liberal from the beginning, I appreciated the whole idea of the academy from the start. I have gained many ideas about liberal policies and practices in education. The workshop has provided me with a clearer vision towards liberalization in the field of education and – to sum it up - has empowered me as a more confident liberal.
The workshop taught me numerous lessons; if implemented, each would be of great service providing access and quality education to many. Two lessons really struck me: First, the role of government in education should be as minimal as possible. Second, the potential of low cost private schools to provide quality education for poor children is huge.
The excursions to Cologne and Munich gave the participants a general idea about the culture and history of Germany. We got an opportunity to visit a museum and a concentration camp. What struck me most was the respect I found among the German people regarding their history, their eagerness to learn from their museums and historical sites. I also learned a few if not many things visiting these historical places. The visit to a school in Munich was also amazing: such a school would be a dream in Nepal.
I was mesmerized with the education reform in Ukraine, where – this is what I learned - they focus on small steps to bring big changes. Closer to home, I was also impressed with the steps taken by the National Independent School Alliance (NISA) in India as well as education reforms in South Africa and Philippines.
The group discussions and presentations helped me get an overview of the problems associated with education and how to deal with them. Then there were the many discussions at the dining area, the bar, on the bus and many other places: these informal talks I found equally fruitful. It was great to have the opportunity to share the problems of my country and hear opinions and advice from intellectuals of different countries of how to address them. This broadened my perspective on possible reforms in education.
This first international trip truly helped in my personal and official growth. I learned many new things about different cultures interacting with different people and working collaboratively with different personalities. For me, I take this workshop as the one that gave me much confidence, has improved my skills and abilities in many different aspects.
Ayushma works with Samriddhi Foundation in Nepal. She recently attended FNF-IAF's leadership program in Gummersbach, Germany on Education Policy Reform. In this report, she is sharing her personal thoughts.