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Why Is This Thinking Day Important To Me?
Why Is This Thinking Day Important To Me?
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Why Is This Thinking Day Important To Me?

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Girl Guides and Girl Scouts celebrate the World Thinking Day on 22nd of February. The Thinking Day usually has a theme and for 2014 the theme is "Education Opens Door For All Boys and Girls". It is …

Girl Guides and Girl Scouts celebrate the World Thinking Day on 22nd of February. The Thinking Day usually has a theme and for 2014 the theme is "Education Opens Door For All Boys and Girls". It is one of my favourite Thinking Day themes that we have had recently. I wrote my thoughts as to why it is important to me. For more information on Thinking Day, please visit http://www.worldthinkingday.org/en/home

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  • 1. Why Is This Thinking Day Important To Me? In the beginning of this year, I was invited to do a presentation at a Patrol Leaders’ Training and I was putting together the presentation when I realized that Thinking Day is around the corner. I wanted to tell the girls about the day, its importance and of course, the theme for 2014. That’s when it hit me, the theme! For 2014, in keeping with the MDGs and GAT, the theme is “Education opens doors for all boys and girls”. This is my favourite out of all the MDG related Thinking Day themes that we have had recently. Don’t get me wrong, the others are important too. But this is my favourite, for two reasons. Number one, I can directly relate to it, I am a direct beneficiary of an all-around education and if this goal is achieved, then it will provide a short cut for all the other goals to be achieved, at least, in my opinion. OK, that is three reasons, which just goes to show that it is my favourite theme! I was born to a very conservative family in Sri Lanka, no sons, only two daughters and I, the elder. My father took the very brave step of providing an all-around education, regardless of the fact that we are girls, and he thought of the best environs that could provide this to us. After all, he knew a thing or two about education as the eldest son of a village school teacher and himself being a Professor, educated by the people’s money, in what is popularly known as free education. I started my education at a popular private girls’ school in Colombo which has religious and cultural education as its fundamentals, principles that this institution still upholds today. I started and ended my school education in this school and my sister, followed me into it, four years later. This is where the foundation of my adult life was firmly laid, in more ways than one. It is where I learnt the basics of commerce and economics, the industry that later employed me, and now gives me my daily bread and butter. I count over 10 years in it now. It is also where I became a Senior Guide which showed me the finer things in life such as service to all, volunteerism and community development. Little did I know, that this would take me around the world in years to come. If going to this school was the cake, then the icing and the cherry on top, was the two and a half years that I spent in South Africa while I was still in my school years. How was this possible? My father got the opportunity of working in a university over there, which is directly attributed to his education and he was able to take us all to live with him. South Africa was in transition, going from apartheid to democracy and unknown to me, I also went through a transition. I was able to see the benefits of education in achieving reconciliation and development and its importance in shaping the thinking of the masses. This period of my life will forever be very dear to me. This is where I learnt English, the ability to communicate and write it fluently, which has become a powerful tool particularly in my adult life. Education has the wings to take you places as my experiences show. My father was able to provide us these great opportunities because of his education and I continue to go places because of my education. From school, I went to University in India which allowed me to learn in a totally different environment than what I was used to, travel in such a diverse country and meet different people. This is also where I learnt to multi-task as I had to study, cook and keep house and maintain a bank account, all at the same time. I’m reaping the fruits of the hard labour in my adult life!
  • 2. Education is the best gift that we can give to ourselves and to those around us. I continuously witness this at home and in my many travels around Asia Pacific, whenever I meet those hard working women, better known as Leaders or Guiders, who give their time, energy, talents and even money, to give a life enriching experience to girls and boys. I think the whole Girl Guide or Girl Scout Movement is privy to this as it has witnessed this gift of education passed down from generation to generation for over a century. I know the feeling as I have been a Guider for eleven years now and know it is very difficult to put in to words, the elation that we feel whenever a girl or boy thanks us for having learnt something new or the fun they had at an event organized by us. Education is the best gift you can give yourself? If you are educated, you have the ability to make better decisions, take better care of yourself and give the best of you to your loved ones. We see this every day, whenever we see those men and women, who continue to balance personal and professional lives and gives the best to themselves, their employers and families. Achieving the universal goal of education will open the way to achieve other goals such as gender equality, maternal and child health and preserve the environment. This is why it is necessary that we continue to learn and share, as education will provide us the necessary insights, experiences and tools to achieve the other MDG-related goals. Only education and experience will let us know how to overcome the challenges and celebrate the successes. I guess this is why it is important to have access to quality education. To quote from an article that I read recently, the latest UNESCO report reveals that a global learning crisis is costing governments $129 billion a year. Poor quality of education is just as good as no education as these individuals will not be able to transform knowledge into action. Figures show that around 175 million young people in poor countries cannot read all or part of a sentence. Imagine what is at stake, when they cannot read and understand a simple document about personal safety, yet alone Adventures of Harry Potter or Huckleberry Finn? The same report shows that ensuring an equal, quality education for all can generate huge economic rewards, increasing a country’s Gross Domestic Product per Capita by 23% over 40 years. I am, indeed, very thankful for the opportunities that I have had in educating myself, I continue to learn and share, as so many others have done before me, as it is the best way to see a wider world and say thank you to all those and all things, that you are grateful for. Education does open doors for boys and girls! It did, for this girl! Happy Thinking Day! For more information about Thinking Day: http://www.worldthinkingday.org/en/home Education For All Global Monitoring Report: http://www.unesco.org/new/en/education/themes/leading-the-internationalagenda/efareport/reports/2013/

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