Education has always been one of the most profound aspects on the timeline of human civilization. The more profound a subject is, the more the chances of it gaining ambiguity in terms of perception. In different epochs in history one can trace the organized purpose of the education that was imparted. Education unquestionably is the strongest tool we have in our hands to frame the next generation.
Earlier, education was restricted to a privileged class of individuals in every society – royals, nobles, brahmins, etc. The women and the masses were subject to a lower degree of or an informal education system aimed at serving the privileged class. With the advent of time and multifarious reforms and dilution of disparity in the society, education became every person’s right. This was necessary to curb the potential chaos from the impoverished rungs of the society, which often erupted in the form of various mutinies and social movements against the privileged.
Howsoever distorted history may be, a pattern of hierarchy is clearly visible across all epochs of civilization. The pattern where the reins are held by the class with power and where manoeuvred thoughts masquerading as education trickle down to the rest of the society. Aye! we are referring to educational reins being held by priests, scientific societies, governments (capitalist or socialist) or monarchs. The more we find this hierarchical pattern unfolding in front of us, the more we are aware of the ability of education as a tool to manipulate a complete generation of individuals.
This observation of hierarchy can be strengthened by a conscious understanding of the power holders and the developments in the field of science, architecture, and other professions. Beliefs prevalent during Hitler’s regime can be contrasted to the Marxian society. Science during church rule can be measured with the perspective of science during the Industrial Revolution.
The modern education system has, fortunately, emerged as a more rational and just system when compared to its predecessors. Nonetheless, the power and opportunity to influence the masses to a predetermined purpose continues to be possible. Any institution of the society – economy (social or capitalist), armed forces, religious (liberal or fanatic) can be understood by reading the two extremes of the institution, i.e., the credo of the fathers of the institution and the beliefs and actions of the group . After all, a king is not a king by virtue of his kingship but because of the subjects serving him.
Education, exhibiting a strong cascading effect in all these institutions, has the potential to be a surrogate mother of consumerism, fanaticism, jingoism, etc. A strong capitalist economy, for example, will have more educational institutions as placement schools and work force development centers as compared to a socialist society, which will focus more on the sentiments of nationalism, culture, reverence of national figures, etc.
Despite the innumerable chances that allow the education system to be tweaked in favour of an individual or an institution, the role played by various teachers has been a reason for respite. People like Confucius, Dr. S Radhakrishnan, Aristotle, JK Krishnamurti and many more have always played a pivotal role and thwarted any attempts, which could hamper the sacrosanct purpose of education. Thus, a teacher’s profession is not only one of great respect, but also of great responsibility – the power to affect a whole society.
The article has been contributed by Butterfly Fields, a company working in the domain of innovative teaching-learning techniques. To know more about the work the company does, visit www.butterflyfields.com or call 040 2771 1020.