June 4, 2008
This month I’m back to teaching all lower level classes, although during April and May I taught an advanced class. It was loads of fun, as my students were actually able to share their opinions with me (as opposed to the lower level classes, where conversation revolves around simple questions like “What did you do yesterday?”). I’m really going to miss my advanced class. Anyway, here are some of the (unedited) answers they wrote on their exam; I thought you might be interested in their opinions.
What is your opinion of the “compensation culture” that has developed in America?
In America it is very stupid I think. Because in some situation the person guilty by himself, not because floor is wet or coffee was very hot. People should be more careful. If I were a judge, I never decide that people should take money if they wasn’t be careful. But in our country, if you are say truth and you are right, unfortunately, to win in judge is very difficult. You must give bribes for a jury. But if you give bribes, it is not make you sure that you will win. Because defendant can have given more bribes. I hope that in the future the government to realize this and make it better.
“Compensation culture” is a really strange phenomenon for people of Asian and CIS countries. Maybe we just didn’t get used to live in a pure civil society where all laws are strictly observed by all people including highly ranked militaries and top government officials. Civil society puts a law higher than all other moral values, it is actually the highest moral value itself. And that is why Western and mostly American people take all benefits from their constitutional rights, suing everyone and everything just because that they know the law is on their side.
Well, as I read in book, news, and heard from others, it is a big and serious matter in America. Because it is very often that people claim for compensation by suing companies, restaurants, even poor people who can’t even feed themselves and their families. If the reason of compensation is logical and acceptable, it’s ok. But mostly the reason is unbelievable and still they get a lot of money for suing that person or company. In my opinion in compensation cases, the jury should be those who were sued for some unbelievable reason. So that they could try to fix the problem gradually. Cause America has a famous name in world compensation statistics. And they have to do something about it and very fast.
Annie, I suspect that I wasn’t at this lesson and unsure about the “compensation culture.” If it came from the idea to get compensation for something, such culture could be helpful sometimes. Thanks to this “culture” people could know more about the law and their rights. But I’ve read a lot of stories about very weird situations when people were trying to get compensation. Some of them are just stupid and crazy! The compensation culture is very poor in our country because of corruption and imperfect court system.
Do you agree with the saying “money makes the world go round”? Why?
This saying is quite truthful, but not only money makes the world go round. Money is just speeding up the world’s processes, they help to develop relationships between countries and the peoples. But what would happen if money didn’t exist? Maybe then the universal equivalent of goods would be some another thing, for example, a sheep. And we would exchange sheeps for other goods and it would make the world go round.
No, I’m not agree with this point. Of course, money can help you to make your life better, but it doesn’t mean that if you have a lot of money you can buy everything. Money couldn’t bring you happiness if you are alone. Money couldn’t give you good healthy if you are very illness. It depends on people. If the person knows how to spend the money and will spend it on good things, like charity, he could change the world around him and help other people make their lifes better too.
When I studied at school I was disagree with this phrase. Because I was too young to realize it. But now I know that money plays great role in our life. Because you can get everything if you have money, you can allow yourself to do everything what you really like. You can even become president of very famous company without playing any role in its progress. But I know some people who are rich but they aren’t flashy, and they’re doing a lot of charity, they just live and help people. I think we must know that money only serve for us and nothing else.
What aspects of the education system in your country would you change? Why? How?
Actually, the system is good. However, there are many other problems in the country which cause bad education. The main one is low economic level of the country. Lots of people (about 80%) are poor. Some cannot even afford to buy elementary set of school stationary for their children. Teachers, tutors and professors have so little salaries that they are subjected to take bribes and they are not motivated in their work. So, the problem is not in the education system. Simply, we need new generation of politicians.
(This student is from Afghanistan) Well, education in my country isn’t that good, but if I could change something in it I would change all school books which are in a very bad conditions. They are old, many times printed and copied again, and has lost all its quality. You can barely read them. Second, I will start schools of co-education because it really helps a nation by getting shame out of mind, become couraged and have self confidence. Next, I will bring international language book and subjects into schools so that our students can get in touched and should be capable of standing in international society.
The education system in our country is not so strong and effective. We’ve got many universities, colleges, schools, but don’t have enough well-qualified teachers. Also, the salary of these teachers is very low, that’s why we have a big bribery system in education. First of all, if it would be possible, I would attestate all the universities, colleges and schools. Then I would try to increase qualification level of teachers, organize them a lot of trainings, and of course, increase their salaries.
In my opinion, the educational system of our country could be really good if our government took care of poor families and orphans. You know there are too many children working at our markets: Osh Bazaar and etc. They can’t get an education because of family problems, like not enough money, or there are five or six children in a family and a widow has to take care of everyone. Besides, it’s really expensive to study at one of the top schools of the city. Every parents want their children to get a high education. I think our ministry of education must take care of it. The other aspect which I really dislike is a bribe, which is very common in our university. You can easily get a first-class degree with money. It’s not fair!
Are there any subjects not commonly taught at schools in your country which you think should be taught? What? Why?
(This student is from Afghanistan) The first and main topic is that in schools students should be taught first-aid topics and which is important for every day life. Second, there should be cooking classes more and often, specially for teenage girls. Because I am experiencing that females are going away from cooking. Early times women and girls were attracted to cooking. Maybe like 99% women cooked. But now maybe 70% women don’t know how to cook small and easy dish.
I think there are some subjects which should be taught at schools. They are sex culture and etiquette. Etiquette should be taught at junior classes. Sex culture would be better to be taught to high school children. Our children don’t behave well at the public places like in marshrutka or cinema. Their behavior is just awful. As for a sex culture, I believe that children should know about AIDS and others dangerous sickness.