By Mark Cadiz Courier Staff
The old fashioned ways of bartering are back. The bygone system of exchanging one item for another as a form of payment is seeing a revival with education and students receiving the benefit of this retro system.
Trade School, an alternative school for learning, is re-developing the concept of barter for education.
The school, which started in New York in 2010, has expanded to a worldwide network with schools popping up at all four corners of the world.
The first Trade School operating with the bartering for knowledge model, opened their doors in Toronto last September and so far the response from participants has been positive.
One of the lead organizers of Trade School Toronto, Nico Koenig, has been a part of it since the beginning.
“We are promoting an alternative economy,” Koenig said.
“It takes a lot of work to run the school and promoting the idea of share value is why we do barter.”
The school is open to any type of workshop, as long as they adhere to the school guidelines. Class pitches are reviewed by organizers and if approved, are posted on the school website and then open for registration.
Trade School workshops are as diverse as they come, from introduction to French to learning how to conduct basic bicycle maintenance.
Sarah Gallah, a French teacher for the Toronto Catholic District School Board found out about the barter for knowledge model online and quickly jumped on board. She had her first class last Sunday at OCAD University’s art gallery.
“It’s my first time teaching with Trade School,” Gallah said.
“I love the concept, especially nowadays when everyone is pursuing a masters degree. I feel like you don’t have to pay to learn and I find a lot of people willing to give their time to teach others.”
Some of the barter items Gallah listed as a fair trade for her class were cheese, French CDs, Origami hats and a ‘French surprise’ which could be anything French related.
As the Trade School concept continues to grow there are some concerns brought up by formal education centres through the greater Toronto area.
The Dean of Centennial College’s Centre for Creative Communications Nate Horowitz says he does like the concept of bartering and believes it opens up access to education to a wide variety of people. But he does voice some concern about the quality of education outside the traditional institution.
“One concern would be the quality of the teachers, what their track records are,” Horowitz said. “But the courses at the Trade School could be a stepping stone towards a specific program at a formal institution like Centennial College or somewhere else.”
Other institutions like the University of Toronto and The Ontario College of Arts and Design University have opened up to Trade School and have granted them class space to conduct their workshops.
“It is still pretty new and it’s definitely grown since our opening,” Koenig said. “We have been active in trying to reach different communities and making sure others have access to organizing and participating in Trade School.”
For More Information Checkout http://tradeschool.coop