Why does effective Altruism support traditional education in Africa that's outdated? 

Why is EA recommending African education that's not helping students to actualize who they can be instead of judging them of what they can be or cannot be based on some made-up system of grading?

  • Teachers are now being evaluated and scored based on student’s grades.
  • Instead of helping the student to learn, teachers are forced to help the student get good grades.
  • This idea is even applied at a whole school level where schools are now funded or even closed down based on the academic performance of their students.

EA supports student attendance through deworming school age children in order to increase attendance in outdated schools in Africa of the industrial or factory mode or the education that:

  • Instead of working with the students’ strengths, we have an education system which has absolutely no idea what the strengths of each student are besides what letter grades they received on their last exams. 
  • Instead of funneling the curiosity and joy of learning which every child possesses, we have an education which crushes and smothers this passion with besieging tests.
  •  Instead of teaching the important lessons of grit and perseverance, we have an education system which gives no second chance and no opportunity for failure.
  •  Instead of fostering differences, diversity, individuality, and creativity in humans, we have an education system which forces students to conform under one golden standardized test.
  •  Instead of creating equal opportunity for all students to thrive, we have an education system which judges, alienates, and favors only those who can excel academically while leaving behind brilliant students who simply might not fit the mold.
  • Regardless of what dreams and hopes education might have for each student, its actions speak loudly on how African education envisions its students to be nothing more than test-taking machines or what Socrates (n.d.) described as “vessels” to be filled
  • And the consequence has robbed students of the purpose behind their own education.

Why does EA continue to recommend donors to such initiatives? Are we only for numbers in school, can any altruist recommend a child from EU or USA to a school in rural Uganda? If yes why and if not why?

 We need to change our mindset to build Altruist schools that'll offer general EA subfields and EA focused degrees by leveraging highly talented researchers and teachers to cultivate in students the knowledge that's beyond wit, grit and themselves based on students’ strengths, interests and needs to  offer service to others. A successful Africa needs givers but so does a successful world. What will save the world is surely not the education that builds a culture of takers but a culture of givers-an “altruistic society”. The key to saving the world, as well as oneself, therefore, is the ongoing process of weeding out the taker within, of finding happiness in giving up, overcoming, and transcending one’s selfish tendencies toward growth. This is what we're developing as an alternative to traditional education in Africa. DM for a private chat and give your critics.




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I agree that sending kids to ineffective schools isn't an effective thing to do! I don't this this is what any EA organisations recommend though. While there have been some studies that suggest deworming improves school attendance, I understand that this is not commonly believed to be a big effect anymore. 

GiveWell recommends deworming charities because of evidence that deworming could have a positive impact on income in the long term. You can read more here https://www.givewell.org/international/technical/programs/deworming - I think this is interesting reading because while GiveWell are pretty uncertain about the impact of deworming, they still think in expectation it is a highly cost effective thing to fund because it is just so cheap to deworm kids. 

[I'm not an expert in this at all - just a GiveWell fan, so someone else might be able to share more nuanced information].

"Ineffective" school usually means school that is ineffective for learning, but I think school that is ineffective for learning can be effective in other ways, for example effective in providing daycare services to parents.

In that case, I think an effective thing to do is to plan transition from existing schools to daycare centers, eliminating teaching and focusing on caring. One could destroy all schools and build daycare centers instead, and destroying all schools has emotional appeal to me, but transitioning is probably cheaper.