Improving Education Around The Globe, with Brad Brasseur

‘Investing in memories is more important than buying material things’ -BB

Former Kamloops resident, Brad Brasseur, has travelled to over 80 countries around the world pursuing his passion to improve education in developing countries. The teacher and university counselor has had articles published in over 30 countries on travel and improving education for the poor.

Brad is currently finishing a year of teaching work in Lima, Peru. How did he get from growing up in a small city in western Canada to teaching, writing and travelling around the world?

“When I was growing up in Kamloops, British Columbia all I wanted to do was travel the world and explore new countries. As a teenager, I would study atlases each night before I went to bed.

My first trip out of North America was a mission’s trip to Guatemala when I was 15-years-old. I began my more intensive global travels after I left high school and I started my studies at the same time at Thompson Rivers University. It was a challenge balancing studying in university
and working to save money to support my travels.”

After completing his Bachelor’s degree, Brad completed his Masters in International Political Economics at the University of Kent in Brussels, in order to chase his dream of working for the United Nations.

He then worked at the EastWest Institute for three years on diplomatic/political projects in Afghanistan and Pakistan, where he realized his true passion was to work in grassroots development projects directly with the people.

During his travels, Brad was looking at education systems in developing countries:

“As I traveled more, I realized that most of the impoverished people in
developing countries have no chance to succeed because of the education they are receiving. The United Nations Millennium Development goal on education may have increased primary school enrollment but it did not help the quality of education.

Education in developing countries is at such a low quality that the children barely learn the basic literacy skills to advance themselves. Education is the foundation to get high quality paying jobs that can take people out of poverty.  A good quality education is the most vital way of breaking the cycle of poverty in developing countries, since if someone grows up poor and receives a bad or no education they will likely need to work in the informal economy their whole life. Working in the informal economy normally involves fighting for to survive day-by day. 

Young people do not attend school sometimes because they need to support their family instead. This means they either watch their younger siblings while their parents work, or they work themselves to financially support their family. Their parents believe that attending school has little benefit for their future. They only think short term and not longer term because they need to survive.

In some cases, children might be receiving such a poor education with poorly trained teachers and full classrooms that they would get little long term benefits from an education. However if we can improve the quality of education globally, the long term benefits of completing school will greatly outweigh not attending school.”

Brad’s next job was working alone on a community development and education project in a small coal-mining town in Eastern Ukraine near the Russian border where he discovered the level of education in a country like Ukraine was still far behind more developed countries.

After Ukraine, he moved to Arequipa in Peru and co-directed a small NGO in Arequipa called HOOP Peru that focused on improving education in a

“This experience made me realize the importance of the new United Nations Sustainable Development education goal, which now focuses on training teachers, better resources and increasing vocational training to adults.

These experiences inspired me to write two articles focused on improving
education for the poor. My objective was to raise awareness of the education crisis in the world by writing easy to comprehend sentences highlighting the issues without academic jargon or complex terminology.

After three years of working for Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto on the informal economy, I finally ended up achieving my dream of working for the United Nations in Peru. However, I quickly realized the project, which focused on eliminating weapons of mass destruction in Latin America, was quite far away from my passion of improving education for the poor.

Since then I have completed my third degree in education from the University of Nottingham and I began teaching at a school in Lima. I hope to gain new insight as a teacher for a few years that can eventually help me go back into education development in the future with new perspectives. In the meantime, I will continue to raise awareness of the global need to improve education at all levels of society.”

Educator, author and traveller, Brad Brasseur

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