U of S gets a Teachers Without Borders group

By in News

Associate News Editor

The new student group Teachers Without Borders had its first fall event on campus on Sept. 15.

Students and Saskatoon community members gathered at the University of Saskatchewan to push together two halves of a sign depicting the Teachers Without Borders logo in an effort to raise both money and the group’s profile. Carmen Adams, Teachers Without Borders’ U of S chapter president, says she feels the process brought Saskatoon together along with the signs.

“We had a number of VIP sign-pushers,” Adams said. “We had support from the education community, the political community, the business community and students. We had some city councillors, some people from Cameco.”

While some people gathered to physically push the sign halves together, others donated money to the cause, and with each donation the signs were brought closer. The money raised will go to Saskatoon public schools for school programming.

When Adams and her classmates started at the College of Education in fall of 2008, they were “excited about participating in groups,” including Teachers Without Borders, Adams said. However, they realized the U of S had no chapter of the organization set up.

“After hemming and hawing, we decided to start it last year just after Christmas.”
Adams stressed that Teachers Without Borders is not just for teachers or education students. Students from any discipline and non-students are welcome to join and work to raise money and awareness for education. The group will work to raise money for both local and international education needs.

The fundraiser this week marked the first fall launch event the group has had but Adams said the group has many events planned for the following year. One event, which has not been finalized but which will be planned in conjunction with Teachers Without Borders Canada, will raise money for an as-yet-undetermined international education issue.

Another goal of the group is to spend time volunteering to help local schools, Adams added.

“Our mandate is to think globally and act locally,” Adams said. “We’ve worked to achieve that with our event (this week).”

Teachers Without Borders is an international organization with headquarters in Seattle, WA. The Teachers Without Borders website states that Fred Mednick founded the group “to provide teachers with the collegial support and network he first envisioned when he was still a young student.”

Teachers Without Borders also attempts to act as a voice for teachers in policy-making decisions, as it claims they are often left out of the process.

They run several programs internationally for both teachers and students. Many of these seek to encourage the development of work-related skills in youth around the world who may not be able to gain the this experience without these programs. The “Mediterranean Youth Technology Club” is offered in eight Middle Eastern and Mediterranean countries and is focused on teaching students technology skills and helping them to improve their English.

Another part of their work to make education easily accessible around the world is a program called “Open Educational Resources,” which provides materials and resources for free use by anyone. In some circumstances they can also be re-mixed and distributed free of charge.