COMMENTARY · 29th March 2010
As we celebrate Education Week here in B.C., I would like to take a moment to acknowledge the value of our public education system, recognize the great work of the many professionals who work in the system and challenge all of us to play our part in contributing to our kids' education.
The poet Yeats once said, "Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire," an early recognition not only of the complexity of education but also the importance to the individual who then forms part of a cohesive, socially liberal society.
We often think of education in terms of teaching us how to make a living, but perhaps the more important role is in teaching us simply how to live. A quick synopsis from around the world shows us the sad state of many countries, from those who suffer continual wars and civil strife, to those who lack the financial resources to even send their kids to school, to countries that we admire.
There is a direct correlation between what these countries decide or are able to invest in educating their children and their quality of life. Quite aside from the benefits of education to individuals, to families and to communities, our public education system is the bedrock of a civil society, and it's the crux of our democracy. We often leave this important task to paid professionals — our teachers, principals and administrators. But let us not forget those who support them in the school system: the teaching assistants and custodians.
It doesn't end there, for we all have a role to play — parents, grandparents, aunties, uncles. Indeed, all community members can and should assist our children through all the teachable moments in life. That can support those who dedicate their lives to working in the formal school system. For at the end of the day, education is the transmission of civilization, and this can only be achieved if we all play our part.