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Equal Opportunity for All: Race, Gender, Poverty, and Education

Education is a powerful tool for growth and transformation that can change peoples’ paths by increasing personal and professional opportunities throughout their lives. However, depending on gender, race and socioeconomic status, people often don’t  have the same opportunities to pursue a quality education. Impaired by discrimination, racism, and poverty, young people throughout the world find their access to education limited. Hoover High School (The United States) and Noeun High School (Republic of Korea) met virtually on November 29 to discuss potential answers to address inequality in education.   

The students examined pieces of non-fiction examining the relation between educational opportunities and socio-historical backgrounds. Their conversation focused on the multiple challenges individuals face in order to receive a quality formal education. They analyzed several books and documentaries, identifying personal stories where characters experienced a big change in their lives through the power of education. Additionally, they exchanged their impressions about each author’s’ style and discussed the main role education plays in each book and film.

The passion for inclusive education these students demonstrated is an inspiration.  They remind us all to keep fighting for a world where education is accessible to everyone.

The program became more meaningful to students thanks to the commitment and enthusiasm of the lead teachers – Ms. Jillian Thomas, Ms. Hejin Kim, and Mr. Jonghyeok Keun – and the indispensable support provided by each school’s administrators. A US student reflected how the experience was through her final message: 

“Thank you all so much for this allowing us to share this wonderful opportunity with you. We feel that we have benefitted from this, and hope the same to you. This experience has been very eye-opening for us all… We are grateful that you all have agreed to do this [exchange] class with us, and are very excited to have become friends with you all… Thank you so much for sharing this opportunity with us.” 


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