Schooling the World

November 2, 2014

Screen Shot 2014-11-01 at 22.49.21Schooling the World is not only a reflection on the role of education in colonialism, but it also an inspiration for us to rethink the very notion of education.

Education is often seen as a panacea for poverty in the developing world. A population with competence in math and science, usually supported by a good command in English, often translate to a more prosperous economy and better integration into the world’s economy. This equation seems logical and it is proven to work for a lot of developing countries – growth in monetary terms. But it ignores the fact this concept of education, largely funded by development agencies, voluntary organisations and goodhearted individuals, is at the core a western one, with a specific agenda to mould subjects to suits the needs of a capitalistic, urbanised and consumption-based economy.

Let’s just first put aside the fact that this economic model is not sustainable – it would take the resources of more than one planet earth if the whole world is to live the western way – an education system that serves this model often put the focus on technical competence over creativity, rationality over spirituality, conformity over diversity. With education and development, a farmer who used to live a perfectly happy life working in the fields could be forced to work in a sweatshop in the city. The farmer earns more, but is he happier?

“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

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