I'm really interested in knowing more about this school, and I'm guessing that we'll hear a lot more about it in coming weeks as it is about to open. This article has some beautiful photographs and it looks like a lovely campus.
I do find it bothersome that Oprah's are called extravagant. Why are educational institutions always looked at to be spartan and budget conscious? Does that really make a school a better learning environment? The fact is that good education is expensive, and the physical environment in which children learn is as criticial as curriculum and teachers.
The article also reminds me of what Dean Kamen was saying in the Iconclasts episode I watched last night. The technological know-how is there to solve world problems; it is harder to change attitudes about the status quo. Too bad the South African government didn't look at this as an opportunity.
This paragraph in the article also stood out for me:
"Oprah also knows that some people will complain that charity should begin at home, even though she has provided millions of dollars to educate poor children in the United States, especially via her Oprah Winfrey Scholars Program. But she sees the two situations as entirely different. "Say what you will about the American educational system—it does work," she says. "If you are a child in the United States, you can get an education." And she doesn't think that American students—who, unlike Africans, go to school free of charge—appreciate what they have. "I became so frustrated with visiting inner-city schools that I just stopped going. The sense that you need to learn just isn't there," she says. "If you ask the kids what they want or need, they will say an iPod or some sneakers. In South Africa, they don't ask for money or toys. They ask for uniforms so they can go to school."
I hope people can get over geographical boundaries and appreciate her efforts for helping children in general. And, secondly, it saddens me that our values are so skewed in this country that education is not always appreciated. We have so much here in the states, and it never seems to be enough for some. Poverty here, while no cakewalk, seems to be a different thing altogether than living in a completely impoverished country. I honestly don't know how Americans can turn this around and yet, I can't imagine that every school plagued by societal problems is like what Oprah describes above.
At any rate, I'm really curious about how this school will operate, and particularly about technology usage there. Since beginning the ADE global awareness project last year, I have wondered about technology in Africa.