This was mentioned in a comment on our Facebook page and I’d planned to address it anyway, but since it’s already been mentioned by a visitor, I’ll clarify it here.
The goal of the Phoenix Project it to make it possible for Libya to better educate it’s children. WE are not educating anyone. That needs to be made clear up-front. There are a variety of reasons for this, but I’ll cover some of the main ones.
First, it’s not our (my, yours, America, or anyone else’s) right to determine what Libya teaches to it’s children. There is an officially adopted curriculum in Libya for all age groups – just like we have here in the USA. There are official books for first grade math, second grade science, eleventh grade Arabic, etc. They already have the curriculum approved.
Less than a year ago a contract was awarded to a UK publisher to provide that curriculum. All their material has been vetted by the government, state, teachers etc. We are going to use THAT curriculum and no other throughout the project.
There are many reasons for this – but I’ll give you the one that matters the most logistically. Libya reserves the right to inspect any and all media that enters the country. For example, if I were to arrive in the Tripoli airport with an issue of Hot Rod magazine and it was full of pictures of scantily-clad ladies in bathing suits bent over the hoods of cars – first they would confiscate it. Then, about three days later I’d get it back – with every offensive page removed and torn out. The same applies for laptops, computers, iPads, books, magazines, etc.
So, if we arrive with ONLY the pre-approved curriculum, we will be MUCH more likely to receive a warm welcome from the Libyan government overall.
Now, to reiterate – this is an apolitical project designed to help children educate themselves. This is NOT a project where we assume the role of determining WHAT the children learn to read. That is for their culture and their people to decide. We are there to help, not to influence in ANY way whatsoever.
So, will we be including books on English? No. Libyan students don’t study English. They study Arabic. If that changes, then we’ll be happy to provide the curriculum they request, but this is a mission to help children, not a mission to change them.
Does Libya’s educational system need reform? That’s not for me to say. It’s not my business, or our business. Some things in this world just don’t need politics involved and to me – teaching math, science, social studies, and other core curriculum should not be affected by our western ideologies. We educate our children here the way we want to. Libya does the same for their children. We involved in the Phoenix Project will never presume to direct another country or culture in the manner in which their children will be educated – only to help them achieve the goal of educating them!
We hope, I hope, this approach resonates with those of you out there reading this as much as it does with our team.
PLEASE HELP US GET THERE!! If you can donate to this cause, please feel encouraged to do so. The instructions are on the bottom of the main blog post.