World Humanitarian Day at The Oxbridge Online School
The 19th of August marked United Nations Humanitarian Day 2021. Each year since 2003 World Humanitarian Day or WHD has focused on a theme, advocating for the survival, well-being and dignity of people affected by crises, and for the safety and security of aid workers.
This year the focus is on the human cost of the climate crisis, especially for the world’s most vulnerable people—through disasters, that are, and will increasingly be, leading to the loss of life and livelihood in a disproportionate manner. Those that have contributed the least to the climate emergency are also those who will feel its effects most sharply.
At the Oxbridge Online School, we focus on giving our students the most well-rounded education available. Preparing them for admission into top universities doesn’t mean teaching solely to exam mark-schemes. It means engaging them on bigger issues, giving them topics to discuss in admissions exams and interviews, and sparking life-long passions and missions that they will drive forward with vigour—through their academic careers and beyond. After all, once they have left school and graduated from university, they will be the ones facing the grandest challenges of any generation yet.
That’s why we make extra-curricular activities and discussions part of our core practice, using opportunities like WHD to weave wider topics into our everyday syllabus.
Our format allows us to do this. Our classes are never pre-recorded. In fact, they are more alive and filled with lively debate than classrooms in some of the top traditional schooling environments in the world. Our class sizes are small, so that every student can take part and get fair attention without teachers needing to hurry classes to conclusions. Each day at the Oxbridge Online School begins with a focus session which normally takes the form of a discussion, and after school students can attend a society of their choosing—they are given as much opportunity as possible to discover and engage in the activities and causes they care about.
Our student body comes from all over the world. Having had totally different experiences and exposure to different kinds of people and cultures, they benefit hugely from engaging and exchanging with one another. This is something we see come to the fore when we discuss big global topics like climate change and wealth distribution.
The climate question has been the catalyst for huge global youth movements in recent years. Greta Thunberg and the School Strike for Climate in 2018 was inspiring, but also showed a sorry state of affairs, not only through climate statistics but in the stark suggestion that adults are failing the younger generation and have failed to act on their behalf.
Trying to cure climate change is a huge obstacle but leading by example and rectifying this state of affairs with a positive response is within our control.
Without being prescriptive, this WHD we have encouraged our teachers and students to take a few moments to think about people less fortunate than themselves, and to consider how their actions can (positively or negatively) have a large impact on the world around them.
Learn more about United Nations World Humanitarian Day.
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