Distributed by Bullfrog Films, PO Box 149, Oley, PA 19547; 800-543-FROG (3764)
Produced by Television Trust for the Environment
Directed by Dick Bower
DVD, color, 23 min.
Jr. High - Sr. High
African Studies, Education, Geography, Political Science, Sociology
Reviewed by Deidra N. Herring, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
Date Entered: 9/12/2007
The documentary is a part of a thirteen DVD set focusing on the impact of poverty and other global issues in a variety of developing countries. Schools Out! takes a controversial look at the “grassroots” educational system of West Africa’s largest city, Makoko, a shantytown on the lagoon of Lagos. Parents in these poor communities make many sacrifices in order to pay for their children’s education and enrollment into unregulated private schools versus the free state schools. Although a variety of private schools range in quality and are not regulated by the government, several years of research conducted by Professor James Tooley, from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, suggests that students receive a better education and score higher on testing than those who attend certified state schools.
Do these private institutions do a better job of preparing young students for a brighter future or do they merely represent local convenience and a false sense of status? Compelling arguments are made by various supporters within the community of Makoko as well as free school administrators who are not so eager to support “laissez-faire” institutions harboring unqualified educators. You be the judge of “the good, the bad, and the ugly” within this unique educational system developing around the world.
The film is visually stimulating and is a good introduction to the topics covered. Unfortunately, it lacks depth in identifying specific sources that support the arguments presented in the documentary. Recommended for higher level research projects and as a great resource for public and academic libraries.