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greg dahlen

Alumnus, academy of achievement

TEDCRED 50+

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No School: Maasai attitude towards formal education?

I'm really interested in the Maasai people of Kenya, and one of their ideas that interests me is their rejection of formal education. Theoretically, anyway, the Maasai try not to send their children to school. It's said that when the Kenyan government tried to force the Maasai to send their children to school, the Maasai would rent children from other tribes and send them to school in their own childrens's place, passing them off as Maasai. The Maasai can reject school because they live very simply, in dung huts, and live from the milk and meat of the cattle they herd. When you live like this, I suppose you don't need school. There's something nice about a child remaining in the bosom of the family, learning from their parents the skills they need to continue in the Maasai way of life. What does the TED community think of the rejection of school?

Topics: education society
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    Nov 15 2012: I think I'll add another question to this question. I'm trying to figure out why, with devices, like, say a cell phone, it takes a whole lot more education to design one than to use one. For example, to design a cellphone, you'd probably have to have a Ph.D. But to use one, you can probably just be in elementary school. It's the same with so many things, computers, automobiles, on and on.
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      Nov 16 2012: Why is this surprising, Greg?
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        Nov 16 2012: Well, to create/engineer/design the innards of a cellphone takes great knowledge, probably a Ph.D. But to operate those same innards, well, an eight-year-old can do it. I can't quite put into words, but if the innards are so difficult to create, it seems like they would be difficult to operate. Of course, you can say the engineer makes them easy to operate, yet that doesn't quite answer it for me. To put it another way, it seems like to get the use out of something, you'd have to know how it was put together. But apparently that's not true: you can get the use out of something without knowing how it was put together. There's a disconnect there for me.

        Partially it's that with simple things, we know how they're designed, and we know how to use them. For example, I have an idea of how the innards of a pencil are, and I know how to use it. I have an idea of how the innards of a bar of soap are, and I know how to use it. But complicated electronic devices, or other complicated devices, for some reason, are different.

        By the way, Fritzie, if it happens that two people want to continue a conversation right there on the page after the thread has gone its three levels and run out, is there a way to do it?
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          Nov 16 2012: I can tell you what I do when I want to continue.

          Let's say I want to continue talking to you, but we are on our third indent. I would look back up in the thread to find anyplace you have posted where I see a "reply" button. I would reply to that one.

          To make sure you know which of your comments I am truly replying to, I'd start by writing," You wrote: "Well, to create engineer..."

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