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Opinion Piece: Why Education is Key to Achieving Solidarity

Esther Zhang

June. 2/2020

"This picture directly symbolizes the union between the protestors and those being protested, something that can be kickstarted with education and knowledge."

Amidst the global chaos, education provides the beginning of the shift from disarray to solidarity and unification.

As an International Baccalaureate student, I was always privileged with the power of education; whether through learning at school where I could connect with peers and teachers who inspired me or tutors outside of my classes to bring out the best in myself. Because of the COVID-19 crisis, I took advantage of both the motivation I gathered through my tutors as well as the free time I was gifted with. Through this, I co-founded The Learning Bridge with my friend Stuti Sharma with the collective goal to provide free education. It was through this experience where I truly understood the power schooling holds in our society and the definition and power of education. I regularly found myself in awe with the amount of persistence students had: emailing and reaching out to their tutors whenever they had a question or even wanted an extra tutoring session. We receive emails from parents everyday who thank us and tutors for helping their child where they needed it the most; showing not only gratitude to us but the community as well. The feeling of gratitude allows tutors to bring out the best in themselves whilst inspiring students to achieve their own personal goals, showing unity in both youth and children.

Education is a passing of knowledge from one person to another, boosting the power and understanding of not only society but the globe, where we are merely one person out of 7 billion. With school being online, adjusting to this type of learning was not only difficult but came with many challenges. Students often found themselves struggling to connect through a screen and even had headaches from staring at one for a long time. Although this was completely normal, it took all of us some getting used to. However, once this adjustment to the Coronavirus pandemic was finally made, a new virus spread: racism. The fast shift from COVID-19 to protests on the death of George Floyd took over the world and media. Being fueled by the wrongful death of an African-Amerian at the hands of a police officer, people fought together to “right the system” for the power of the people. However, through these hard times, many of us are left wondering: what can I do to help?

The power that education holds to better the world both in classrooms and our day to day lives is often not recognized. I personally thought of intelligence as simply school and getting A’s in my classes to better my understanding on a subject. However, I was far off from grasping the definition of this word. Education allows us to better understand ourselves. When we come back to the question “What can I do to help?”, we start by researching ideas and articles, to educate ourselves on the task at hand. This passing of knowledge from one person to the other allows an individual to comprehend what they can do to help society move forwards. From pandemic and racism to the end of the world, wisdom will always play a significant role. It never dies and is what allows us to move forwards as the human race. Thus, when we find ourselves feeling hopeless in the chaos of the world today, discipline and knowledge is the first step to bringing us peace in finding the best path to take, and furthermore, providing solidarity. Humanity is fighting to bring ourselves together as one and education is what allows this process to start. It grants us understanding and opens our minds to the opinions and perspectives of others; to help put ourselves in other’s shoes in order to learn the situations of the world, where all we can do is hope to help those who need it most.

Education brings inspiration and inspiration brings change. This action is seen as a symbol of hope in the middle of a world crisis; where we stand together fueled with the power of knowledge. This exchange of intelligence is truly the beginning in a tunnel of light amidst a world currently filled with uncertainty.

About the author, Esther Zhang:

Esther Zhang is a Grade 11 student at Semiahmoo Secondary currently attending the IB program. She is the founder of The Learning Bridge where she hopes to provide free access to tutoring for students


Image Source: Daniel Franco

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