Instead of rote learning, education should make students’ minds efficient enough to comprehend learned knowledge and apply it to solve the new problems and challenges humankind faces, writes Abid Hussain Rather.
EDUCATIONAL ILLITERACY: Development is usually understood as economic welfare, but it is a broad term that encompasses the social wellbeing of people along with their economic progress. In other words, big dams, tall and concrete buildings, macadamized roads, magnificent plazas, and fashionable clothes are not the only indicators of a developed nation.
The term ‘development’ includes other social aspects. Indian noble laureate Amartya Sen in his book ‘Development as Freedom’ points out that the freedom of expression, the freedom of thought and the freedom of choice are essential for developing a nation.
So, the material resources of a nation are not the only indicators of its development, but they must include individual freedoms as well. Education and development are two interrelated and inseparable terms. The education system of a country is closely linked to its level of development. The sustainable development of a country in which both economic and social aspects are included is linked to such an education system in which both natural sciences and social sciences and humanities are taught with equal preference. The dream of sustainable development can’t be fulfilled by giving importance only to natural sciences or social sciences.
In ‘Banking Concept of Education’, the teacher transfers information to students who become silent listeners and stores it to recall it in the examination hall to get good grades.
When we talk about the development of a nation, it does not mean accidental or momentary development, which doesn’t last long or which will be at the cost of our future generation. Instead, we mean sustainable development.
According to the World Commission on Environment and Development, sustainable development meets the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs and as such, achieving sustainable development is impossible without an educated society. Education familiarises us with different concepts and ideologies, which pave the way for sustainable development. It makes an individual creative and useful and enables them to find creative solutions for the challenges faced by humankind.
But what kind of education should be which could be helpful in achieving the goal of sustainable development? It is obvious that just an increasing number of literate people can’t fulfil this dream. Rather, a good and high standard of an education system can play a critical role in economic and social development. If we look at the education system in our schools and colleges, it has not progressed beyond the process of transferring information.
Famous educationist Paulo Freire has termed such type of education as the ‘Banking Concept of Education’ where the students become silent listeners. Teachers share information with students and store it safely in their minds to recall it in the examination hall to get good grades. Such type of teaching-learning process doesn’t develop the cognitive, creative and observational capabilities of students. Instead, it makes them robots without critical thought.
A comprehensive education system must include accretion and modification of knowledge, proficiency and attitude. The main aim of education – which connects it with development – is to embolden and nourish the students’ critical thinking and creative potentialities. Unfortunately, such a type of education system is hardly found in our society. Education should make students’ minds efficient enough to comprehend the learned knowledge and apply it in solving the new problems and challenges faced by mankind. It should help them to raise their voice against the outdated rituals and traditional taboos of society.
We need to ponder upon all those processes which can revive our education system. It includes a proper allotment of funds to the educational sector, improvement of basic infrastructure, versatility in the curriculum in accordance with the needs of modern society, modern teaching techniques and many more. All these processes are essential for improving the standard of our education. Besides, a teacher has a pivotal role in improving our society’s education system, and they should be equipped with modern teaching techniques. If our society covets an efficient community of teachers, they should be provided with the opportunities of economic benefits, social recognition and professional promotions. Teacher education is a must for the professional development of teachers.
Teacher training institutions should be provided with sophisticated and modern teaching aids and instruments to train teachers for the revival of the traditional education system of our society. It is the need of the hour to revive and reconstruct the teacher training system to make teachers proficient. An interdisciplinary approach should be adopted to utilise other subjects to learn and understand some critical issues and concepts. A close and interdependent link between theoretical and practical aspects of learning should be established instead of only focusing on the theoretical part. A teacher should use both formal and informal methods of teaching to bring innovation in himself and attain mastery in the field of teaching. Only proficient and skilful teachers can provide comprehensive education and safeguard our future.
The author can be reached at [email protected]