Education & Freedom

Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today”. Malcolm X
Education is not just about going to school for cramming of specific syllabus or ABC, it is a lifetime prospect to understand more and respect beliefs, culture and traditions. The nexus between democracy and education is indisputably essential. Both are linked with each other. Democracy is used as a tool to educate and education, in return is utilized to harden the democratic spirit and values like liberty, freedom of speech and freedom to protest. These are the fundamental rights which should be exercised by the education system and treatment of students like an empty vessel should be addressed by educational authorities.

“A good student is a good reproducer of knowledge that he or she has been taught; a good student maintains discipline and performs excellently in exams.” Brazilian philosopher Paulo Friere, in his book Pedagogy of Oppressed, calls this as ‘narration sickness.’ Friere criticized the education system after analyzing the teacher-student relationship and revealed that “the education system is suffering from narration sickness.” He explained that there are narrative characters; subject (teacher) and object (students). The role of the teacher is perceived as a narrator which implies that the students listen to teachers’ stories and are expected to memorize the narrated content which in no way takes into consideration students’ experiences and their consultation. It is believed that the more teachers fill the containers (students), the more they are achieving the goals and becoming successful teachers. Other characteristics include the teacher-knows-everything trope and students know nothing; teachers talk and students listen meekly, and teachers have complete authority over their students. This not only causes a power difference in which one group (teachers) and dominates the other (students) but also promotes shocking injustices in access to social, economic, and cultural expression.

Our education is filled with holes and weak information due to the government controlled syllabus. Students are taught to only focus on the facts, figures, and numbers. Through this educational approach, students are degraded and are encased into public approved identical individuals who cannot think outside the specified consensus and question the authorities. Students are assumed to reproduce the knowledge instead of learning critical thinking skills. For those in power, this is an ideal form of teaching to keep the status quo. As a result, the balance between teacher-student is excessively disturbed, students’ creativity is killed and the view gets promoted that to remember is intelligence and truth comes from authority. In like manner, the institutes fail to produce any change agents and end up producing the individuals who are adaptable and manageable to the existing system and maintaining the status quo. Perhaps that is the reason we are not teaching students to rethink the system, recognize the injustices, and find solutions to eliminate them.

Even if one tries to move from traditional to transformative teaching practices are discouraged by the authorities. Education institutions must ensure that they remain responsive to the needs and demands of students as they are responsible for shaping future education institutions. In this era of high-stakes testing, these approaches are far more worthwhile for students than the traditional cramming learning approaches. Students deserve a better future and a better future is possible.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *