Youth Development Concept

research done by Amy Hillier, Associate Professor, School of Design and Social Policy and Practice (UPenn)


The students from the LEA elementary school, at the lab of Dr. Pohlschroder, University of Pennsylvania

Education systems today share more commonalities than differences both in their purposes and their structures. To the extent that education is not value free, but rather expressive of the values, norms, goals and interests of the society that generates it, it is easy to understand the cultural and social consequences that an outward-oriented educational system may lead to. To help the African Francophone Diaspsora students (up to K12)  blind  the uniqueness  of their rich cultural values, and the effectiveness of their educational methods both in the U.S and developing countries, Palms Solutions  has developed an approach that reconciles education with its sociological milieu, and ensures its congruence with the  needs and interests of its


Students during their circle leadership session

 social structure. In other words, the guiding principle of the new approach to education resides in the idea that, while being open to positive external influences and contributions, any educational system must be congruent with the aspirations of the society that defines and uses it

Our Focus: Capitalize on the rich multicultural and linguistic assets of the West/South West Philadelphia community, to prepare the students for productive, 21st century careers in the upcoming Global World.

Our Strategy:For this to happen, educational systems must integrate the cultural elements – including the value system, the institutions, the


Students during French and native language sessions

practices, the knowledge, the historical experiences, the human capacities, the material resources, and other means and capacities – generated by its parent society. Therefore, two main attributes will characterize our new approach to education: Relevance and Pragmatism.

A relevant education system approach is one that finds in its sociological environment the organizational principles and methods, the human capacities, the subject contents, the teaching and learning strategies and means, the wisdom and knowledge, the material resources, and the ethics required for its smooth implementation and the attainment of its mission, goals, and objectives.

The Community Garden project

Students during their gardening class

A pragmatic educational approach allows an educational system to take advantage of external additions in terms of financial, material, and technical support as well as intangible contributions resulting from foreign experiences. The idea is not to develop an educational system that is “socio-centric”, that is, exclusively nurtured by the resources of its setting, but to build one that relies primarily on the cultural, social, economic, and material resources of its environment without, however, despising any contributions that may come from outside. For example in Africa, in relying on indigenous people(story tellers, healers, famous and women, singers, dancers, elders, hunters), the new education approach also allows the use of non conventional expertise that history has hidden deep inside the traditional structure.Thus, the proposed new educational approach will  enrich the cultural, sociological, horizons of developing countries’ youth. and philosophical.