Education: Digging up the Basics
Exam fever, the ‘leaking’ of question papers, poor quality of education, student suicides, rape and child abuse in schools, large numbers of graduates being ‘unemployable’ – we hear of one or the other of all these almost every day in the news. And we get similar depressing news regarding all other ‘systems’ we have – the economic system, the political, health, legal and all other systems.
Is education and learning supposed to be enjoyable and exciting or an unwieldy system weighed down by such woes? Has humankind forgotten many basics we need for living a sane and sensible life on Earth, in almost all spheres of life, not only Education, which is increasing non-wellbeing constantly and relentlessly?
The neglect of the basic wisdom of a cyclical economy has led to suicidal pollution, the decimation of ecosystems, climate change and enormous social injustice. The trampling on basics of human wellbeing by the obsessive growth orientation of the globalised economic system as well as of individuals has led to a terrible epidemic of mental illnesses of alienation, violence and anomie around the world. Consumerism fuels such growth because of ignoring age old philosophies of many civilisations to rein in the ego and the senses and to practice thrift, simplicity and inner growth.
The more we live in the man-made world, dazzled by technology and smart conveniences, media and gizmos, the more humankind seems to have propensities to forget basics for wellbeing. Education on the one hand has been the handmaiden of the techno economic juggernaut ruling the world today, and hence completely subject to its blindness; on the other hand, education systems have become behemoths in themselves and create even more unwell-being in the world.
Monoculture in education ignores the basic reality of the diversity and uniqueness amongst children and hence kills their creativity and often their spirit. The mindless evaluation system that ignored this basic human diversity has fuelled fears, insecurities, depression and even suicides in students. The neglect of helping children value cooperative, collaborative community living as a basic ingredient of wellbeing has contributed to destroying communities everywhere and created cultures of self centred exploitation. The list can go on.
This month, the Eternal Bhoomi magazine focuses on the theme of digging out a few basics in Education, that are often not focussed on.
G. Gautama, the Director of the Pathashaala Centre, KFI, writes about how huge campuses and large student populations within a school are ignoring the child’s basic need for human scale schooling.
Rema Kumar, director of Bhoomi College, will share her thoughts on Education for essentials. Finally, we also include a review of Derrick Jensen’s book: Walking on Water:Reading, Writing and Revolution.
We need many educators and educational thinkers to re-imagine and re-design education rather than leave it to politicians and economists.