It has been difficult watching the news for the past couple of days following the devastating fire at Grenfell Tower. It is impossible to get through a full bulletin without crying. So many tales of heartbreak, sorrow, compassion and breathtaking bravery. The story that struck me today was the one about Ines Alves… Having fled the tower with her family the night before and having lost everything she still went into school, in the clothes she had escaped in, and sat her Chemistry GCSE. She then went back to help the community effort.
I am always in awe of children who go through extreme struggles to get an education. Whether it be walking miles there and back to the nearest school in Africa, to females being taught in secret in the Taliban’s Afghanistan to the ultimate educational icon – Malala, who, despite death threats, continued her schooling and now leads worldwide calls for Girl’s education. At the same time here in the West, with its “free education for all” philosophy we have difficulty getting our children out of bed to make the short journey to school in time for the start of the day. And once there they don’t attack it with the same fervour and diligence as those deprived of it.
I suppose it really is a case of not appreciating something until its gone. How many of us have heard adults complain that they wish they had paid more attention in class and how they wish they had appreciated school more? It is a difficult conundrum – how do we get children to appreciate schooling and get the most out of it they can without depriving them of it to make them appreciate it? Yes, we can make it more “fun” for them – and Roamer certainly plays its part in making education more enjoyable. But there is also a fundamental shift in attitude that’s needed, from the laissez-faire to the being prepared to go though hell and high water to get an education. And I really don’t know how we can do that (suggestions welcome) because I’m pretty sure that if I had just fled the most devastating fire since The Blitz in only my nightclothes I might well have taken a rain cheque on my Chemistry exam. So Ines is my new female role model – up there with Malala. I really hope you she gets all the success she deserves, but with the grit and personality she has displayed I’m pretty sure she will.