On the one hand, we can see that poor world education can allow women
to be empowered and freed from oppressive socio-politico-religious
systems. For example, UNESCO
(dated 2017, accessed 9 October 2017) says:
empowers women and girls. It provides them the ability and knowledge
direct their own lives. When girls receive education they
have smaller and healthier families; gain skills needed to enter the
market; recognize the importance of health care and seek it for
their children; and know their rights and gain the confidence to insist
them. The virtuous ripple effect of education for girls is so
former UN Secretary General and Nobel Prize winner Kofi Annan called it
single most effective tool for development.
the other hand, poor world
education is a type of colonialism, destroying cultures and languages
all over the world, promoting the monoculture of capitalism and making
everyone have a white-skinned soul inside (no matter what they look
like on the outside). This is the warning of the documentary Schooling
Some quotes/paraphrases from 'Schooling the World' mixed with my thoughts:-
"To civilize the [Native American]
Indians... immerse them in our civilization, and when we get them
under... hold them there until they are thoroughly soaked." (General
Richard Pratt, founder of the Carlisle Indian School)
The overt goal is to
destroy their way of life: "Let all that is within you die."
(Carlisle Indian School commencement speech)
The British were doing
the same in India: "We must at present do our best to form... a class
of persons, Indian in blood and colour... but English in taste, in
opinions, in morals, in intellect." (Lord Macaulay's 'Minute on Indian
In Ladakh, modern
schooling has caused the decline of the old values of cooperation and
compassion. Young people instead think of becoming a doctor or
engineer. People no longer help each one another. Spirituality is lost,
the emphasis is on material success. So, education transfers culture -
and western culture is morally void.
Unlike modern culture
and its educational system, traditional cultures and their transmission
of knowledge, although not perfect, were sustainable. They knew about
the local ecosystem and survived for generation after generation, as
independent and in charge of their own lives. Modern children
essentially learn how to use corporate products (e.g. computers) in an
urban, consumer culture, and on completion of their education cannot
survive in their environment
Education is not
transmission of information, but also enculturation. (1) This produces
different kinds of human being with specific lifestyles and different
attitudes to the Earth. Modern science considers Earth inert, something
to be mined. Spiritual cultures may consider Earth to be alive and
sacred, to be respected. (2) We need to question what becoming part of
the mainstream means today? It means a Western urban consumer culture,
where the local culture is perceived as backward, primitive, shameful.
It means putting everything local into the service of the global
economy, so 'Education for All' = train everyone to suit the greed of
giant, global corporations. (3) Huge resources are lost, such as
languages, richness of cultural resources and imagination.
The modern education system that started in the Industrial revolution of the 18th century was not
created to help humans deal with life and all its problems, and be
independent citizens able to live in community. Rather, it was
intended: (1) to be part of the industrial production system,
manufacturing human machines that could be slotted in to the system to
achieve wealth for the few, at the expense of the many; (2) to support
European colonial expansion. Modern education in the Poor World does
the same, pulling people off the land, away from their culture and
self-respect, and makes people dependent on a centralised economy.
"Our schools are in a
sense, factories, in which the raw materials - children - are to be
shaped and fashioned into products. The specifications for
manufacturing come from the demands of 20th-century civilization, and
it is the business of the school to build its pupils according to the
specifications laid down." (Ellwood P. Cubberley, 1898)
"The population at
large must be prepared to accept training for an economic system...
which increasingly confines the individual in large, disciplined
organizations allocating to him narrow specialized tasks." (Walt
Rostow, The Stages of Economic Growth, 1960)
In the past, women
enjoyed and respected their work on the land. Now, with 'development',
they think that education is only reading and writing. Elders develop
an inferiority. They say, "I'm not educated. I don't know anything."
But they had so much more knowledge than those who went to school.
There is a widespread
belief that modern education lifted and lifts people out of poverty.
But the truth is that the arrival of colonialism, development and aid
created poverty! Poverty does not exist in pre-modern cultures!!
Poor world people sell
everything to allow their children to follow the success story that
education offers, but only about 10% succeed. Modern education is
creating worldwide inequality.Modern education is creating failure!! Can you see this? The
failed 90% are in-between people, neither suited to the modern world
nor their local culture. They are cast adrift, depressed and purposeless, vulnerable
to drugs, alcohol, debt, exploitation, prostitution, etc.
One of the great
tragedies of schooling is how it has ripped people out from nature and
locked them up into rooms for eight hours a day. It's crazy how reading
about nature is considered a better way of life than being in nature.
systems are fundamentally disempowering, dehumanising, destructive -
not only to humans, but to all planetary life. "Real freedom will come
only when we free ourselves of the domination of Western education,
Western culture and Western way of living which have been ingrained in
us." (Mahatma Gandhi)
"Education is a
compulsory, forcible action of one person upon another... Culture is
the free relation of people... The difference between education and
culture lies only in the compulsion, which education deems itself in
the right to exert. Education is culture under restraint. Culture is
free." (Leo Tolstoy)
Education forces non-Western
cultures to lose their self-sufficiency and enslaves them to the global
economy. This can be well-intentioned or not.
Instead of arriving
somewhere and arrogantly saying we're here to educate your children, we
need to have a far more humble stance. We are here to share skills, and
there are probably skills you have that can improve us. In other words,
a sharing rather than an imposition.