THE POWER OF EDUCATION

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The Saharawi people value education. Perhaps more so than even in Western culture today, those with little education have come to appreciate the power of knowledge.

The Saharawi believe the knowledge gained through education has the power to change things in their world.

The value of education in the United States has certainly increased over the years and for good reason. The human ability to learn and apply what we learn seems to be one of the significant distinctions that separate us from other living things. Through trial and error people have successfully developed and created useful tools that have continued to evolve over the years to be more and more useful. From bows and arrows and the wheel, to cars, the internet and microwave ovens, inventions have allowed us to be more productive in our world, and documenting, building upon such inventions and educating people on our learnings has exponentially advanced our world. Prioritizing education in this way, has great value.

Recently I was impressed by a World War I podcast. One may not normally consider the education of a nation when considering a war effort but it seemed to play an important role in this case. What struck me was that the way in which a war was fought changed in this time period. Wars used to be fought on horses or in hand-to-hand combat, and guns were used leading up to the war. It seemed, however, that a fundamental shift occurred far beyond tools of war. Wars started to move from an army of people fighting another army of people to technology fighting technology. Of course, people were still operating the machine of war but the advancement of the weaponry had a great impact. Heavy artillery, tanks, planes, submarines and more started to be developed and could be used very effectively. An army held a significant advantage if it was the first one to develop a technology and to use it. Again the ability to learn and expand upon our findings, held power and influence.

Additionally, education plays an important role in the economy. Take for instance just the sole area of the transfer of information. In the past developing a written language was a huge milestone. Today technologies such as phones and email have caused enormous productivity increase, where written language is shared and expressed often, rapidly, and in multiple contexts. A population that knows how to use and develop various technologies will significantly impact their economy.

For the Saharawi, if they continue to value education they will greatly benefit as a people. Certainly today they are at an economic disadvantage in terms of natural resources; but like any nation, if they choose to focus their energy on ways they can prioritize education, and contribute in the development or use of technology that competes in the world today, they will begin to have a larger voice and may someday be able to produce the capital that would be needed to take back their land. 

Post By: Matthew Swanson, March 12th, 2019

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