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What Mortenson Saw Essay

1333 words - 6 pages

Think about United States, Pakistan, and Afghanistan for a minute. What is the first thought that crosses your mind when you think about these three countries? Most of us will probably think negative things about the relationship between these three countries, but the question is how did we get to a point where we automatically assume that there is always bad blood between United States and Pakistan/Afghanistan? Is it because of how the media portrays Pakistan and Afghanistan to Americans? Through the media, Americans are constantly reminded of the enemies and conflicts that our nation has with these countries when there are still the heart-warming stories like that of Mortenson’s journey in ...view middle of the document...

Haji Ali said, “‘The Pakistani government did not provide a teacher. A teacher costs the equivalent of one dollar a day,’ he explained, ‘which was more than the village could afford’” (31). It is not just a teacher’s fault, but the blame also goes to the government for not providing enough teachers to villages. When the teacher costs more than the village could afford, there is no way that the village is going to have enough teachers to teach multiple students. That is the biggest difference, in terms of education, between Pakistan/Afghanistan and the United States. According to USA study guide, education in the U.S. is mainly provided by the public sector, with control and funding coming from three levels: federal, state, and local. School funding, teaching, and other policies are set through locally elected school boards with jurisdiction over school districts with many directives from state legislatures. The education system in the U.S. is very organized and smoothly ran through with many supports. No matter wherever you are in this country, you never have to worry about how school is going to perform; you only have to worry about how you are going to perform. There is another factor that education separates between U.S. and Pakistan/Afghanistan, and that is a gender disparity.
Gender disparity has been an ongoing problem for countries like Pakistan and Afghanistan. Pakistan has for decades grossly underinvested in education, and in particular, girls’ education. According to council of foreign relations, education spending in Pakistan is mired at roughly one percent of GDP, and in this environment of resource constraints, girls tend to be short-changed. Overall literacy is only forty-four percent while adult female literacy is less than thirty percent. The gap between male and female education rate is growing more, when it should be declining. That was what Mortenson wanted to change. He said, “If you really want to change a culture, to empower women, improve basic hygiene and health care, and fight high rates of infant mortality, the answer is to educate girls”(209). Mortenson believed that girls could really change the community. He said, “If the girls can just get to a fifth-grade level, everything changes” (209). What Mortenson meant was that by educating girls, there will be a more idea to generate from to help not only the community, but the whole country, which can lead to a step forward to a gender-equality. Uzra Faizad, the principal of the Durkhani School, also said, “We women of Afghanistan see the light through education” (289). Uzra believes that one day, women of Afghanistan will see the bright future through the education. In contrast, gender-equality is well spread out message in the United States. Recently, U.S. almost had first-ever female president and women power in society is stronger than ever before. The question is can the type of education or gender disparities affect the economic growth?
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