e-Education in five continents | Atsuyoshi Saisho | TEDxSapporoSalon
November 9, 2019
Translator: Masako Kigami
Reviewer: Yuko Yoshida Hello, everyone. My name is Atsuyoshi Saisho. I am a junior at Waseda University
in the 6th year. In Bangladesh,
I’ve been working on a project, an overseas version of “Dragon Sakura”. I want to share this story with you today. Do you know “Dragon Sakura?”
It’s a popular comic for my generation. It’s about spoiled high school students trying to enter the University of Tokyo
to change their lives. Our project is to put this story
into practice overseas. You know why I started this? Heartbreak during my sophomore year. I got dumped by a girl, Akane Kato. (Laughter) I thought it was time to grow up as a man. So, I decided to do something overseas. At that time, I was fascinated
with Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, and thought that could change my life. I flew to Bangladesh
only to find it a tough country. It is the poorest country in Asia. As I interviewed people
in a village like this, many issues emerged,
like lack of hospitals and schools. Especially, they were
in desperate shortage of teachers despite its large population. They have only one teacher
for a crowded class of 70 or 80 students. They teach both at day and night classes. I came to know that this country needs
about 40,000 more teachers. So I came up with an idea. Look at this poor score
in my high-school days – Two points. This was a math test
in second grade at high school. Anyone who got worse scores? When I had two points in math,
my teacher said, “No universities will accept you.” But I met this education model. Voila. As you know, many high school students
nowadays go to cram schools. There they study by taking
video recorded classes. The contents are lessons
of famous teachers. (Laughter) You can meet Japan’s
most famous teachers in DVDs. I studied, using this method
in a cram school and one year later
I could enter the university. What if I brought this
to a developing country, Bangladesh? “I want to try this,”
I said to my boss at the time, Mr. Yunus, President of Grameen Bank. “Do it. Do it. Go ahead!”
he urged me to do it. I said “Yes, Sir.
I’ll do it, if you say so.” So I extended my leave of absence,
and started this challenge in Bangladesh. This was the beginning. Later I came to know that Mr. Yunus
said ʺDo it. Do it.ʺ to everyone. Anyway, there are famous teachers
in Bangladesh. Speaking of English,
this guy – Ku do Bi Zhan Bengali. Galif Ahemed. Social studies. Moni ka imon – and others. I went to see them and asked them
to help me with this project. What’s happened? They are like,
ʺWhy a Japanese guy is doing this? I don’t get it, but I will join that.
It sounds fun!” So they allowed us
to record their lessons. This is my job partner called Maheen. We went to his hometown
with the DVDs we recorded. We set up a computer in a hut
and started a lesson like this. This was the first e-education
in Bangladesh. Our little advertisement gathered
30 students like this. This is Haimchor Village,
one of the poorest villages in Bangladesh. We started lessons. This is exactly how I studied
at a cram school in Tokyo. Muslim girls loved this. Sometimes it’s hard to keep motivation
to study only with the recorded videos. So we chartered a bus
and took our students to Dacca to see their dream colleges.
What’s happened? They increased motivation drastically
to study more e-education. It changed our students like this. Voila! They had no electricity at night,
but they wanted to study. Here’s their answer.
They used a kerosene lamp. You must have heard of this Chinese saying
“Studying with light of fireflies”. This is happening in Bangladesh. After 6 months of hard study, they took an entrance exam
like Japan’s education system. One of my students was accepted
by the University of Dhaka, which equals to the University of Tokyo
for Japan. (Applause) Thank you. Thank you. Look at Keral with a confident look. 18 in 30 students passed
the entrance exams. This made a big news in the community. This year, we moved a step further. Three years has passed since it started. How many students in 180, do you think,
passed an entrance exam? 81 students did. Two students got accepted
by the University of Dhaka. This project “Dragon Sakura” has been
innovating education in Bangladesh. I’ve almost finished my role
because Maheen does everything. Back in Japan, my classmates
started looking for jobs. It was time for me to make a decision.
I received a respecter’s advice. “Live your own way.
As you have come too far live your story.” “I see.” There are many other areas
where people need more teachers. So, I decided to do it in five continents and named it “Dragon Sakura
on the five continents.” We started it last year,
as a series of projects. Changing a place,
Palestinian refugee camp in Jordan. The refugee camp has a history of 30 years
and it is now their home naturally. Girls’ schools are said to be poor. We recorded lessons of Mohammad Saleh,
a star math teacher among refugees and took them to the poor schools
to provide e-education in the Palestinian refugee camp. We had high motivations. This was also the first e-education
in the Palestinian refugee camp. In this atmosphere,
it was very popular among Muslim girls. We went beyond the Middle East. Where, do you think, was our next target? South America? It’s a little far. A closer place is better. Our next target was Africa.
Rwanda, located in the center of Africa. Do you remember
the Rwandan Genocide 14 years ago? Many teachers were killed at that time. They’ve needed more teachers. With no resources in the country, they recruitteachers
from foreign countries. We also provided
the same e-education there. A highly recommended
chemistry teacher, Gerald. We do the same thing again. We look for popular teachers,
and record their lessons. Just for your information,
this is Alex, my Rwandan job partner, the weakest geek in three continents.
(Laughter) Look at his worried face.
(Laughter) These were our daily lives.
This school in Gikongoro, which went through
severe horrors of the genocide, has no science lab and uses a projector
like this to show science experiments. This was the first e-education
in rural community in Rwanda. They experimented neutralization. Then, we returned to the Middle East. The next target was Gaza. It is one of the most restricted areas
for foreigners. Look at the picture.
It is surrounded by walls. This is a wall, everyone.
The person to the left is me. Can you tell how big they are?
It is surrounded by 5 or 6-meter walls. It is a sealed-off city. The walls seem to last forever,
and there are many children inside. The UN has made great efforts
to deliver education, but it’s very difficult to clear the walls
to give education to children. First, go through this kind of checkpoint. Next, enter the gate like this. After entering this gate,
walk through this long corridor. Finally, you enter Gaza. This is Gaza. The only people who are
allowed to enter this gate are staffs of international institutions
such as UN and World Bank. I got a special entry permission
for this “Dragon Sakura” project. There did I meet our children.
Look at this. Here it is. Children
are cheerful everywhere. As you could see it in the slide, we have to use UN cars,
bulletproof cars, for all transportation. They had 270,000 elementary
and junior high school students. Surprisingly, according to a research,
30% of them have learning disabilities. Unfortunately, teachers in Gaza don’t know how to deal with those children
with learning disabilities. Within the walls are teachers and children and the teachers lack skills;
skilled foreigners can’t enter. This is where our ʺDragon Sakuraʺ team
should come along. How do we do it? What we did to break the walls
was to invite a famous teacher. Everyone, this is the most prominent specialist
of impaired learning in the Middle East. Mayana from the University of Jordan. She realized the importance of learning disabilities
in the Middle East, and pioneered in this field. After studying in the US,
Mayana works there. I talked her into joining this. These are teachers in Gaza
who receive new knowledge. We have 18 of them, who are the only ones who take care of students
with impaired learning in Gaza. We established a link among them. Surprisingly,
the UN supported us this time. We provided a live lesson,
using two cameras. This side is Gaza.
The other side is Jordan. We provided a lesson on how to deal with
learning disabilities using a video. The results?
We got a very positive feedback. We will do a sequel lesson this year. This was Gaza’s “Dragon Sakura”.
(Applause) Thank you very much. We started “Dragon Sakura
on the five continents” last year. We’ve taken on 4 challenges
in Bangladesh, Rwanda, Jordan, and Gaza. This is my last year at Waseda University. For this year, I have several ideas
and will announce it now. First, anti-guerrilla tactics in Columbia. People in guerrilla groups
deeply involved in cocaine dealings, we have to return them to the society. E-education might be a solution
of their social rehabilitation. I have another plan
and that is for Rio de Janeiro. We may find needs for e-education in our nearby countries,
like Nepal, Dilip’s homeland. I think there are many needs in Asia. Some of our team members
are already in Indonesia, Myanmar, the Philippines
and Vietnam, looking for needs. They are like 2nd or 3rd
generations of me. We call us as storm patrols
on a school leave. They take a leave of absence from school and go to their target country
for e-education. Nobody asked them to help,
but they initiate a research and find needs and create
solutions by themselves. Not only they design solutions,
they put them into practice. So, college students here today,
this is super fun, really. I met wonderful teachers
through video classes, and that changed my life. That kind of teachers
are everywhere in the world, but only the rich can employ them. Change this situation and open it to the public
by innovation using technologies. That is “Dragon Sakura” made in Japan. Now it took off to the world,
and has evolved like this. I don’t know how many more years it takes
until our project will complete, but I will continue to engage
in this to the end. Please extend a helping hand. Thank you very much. (Applause)