We don’t need no education,
we don’t need no thought control,
no dark sarcasm in the classroom,
teachers leave them kids alone
Roger Waters wrote the famous lyrics for the world acclaimed Pink Floyd song, another brick in the wall. Selling more than four million copies world wide, the single over the years developed a cult like following. The lyrics seemed to have stuck a chord with the people many of whom adopted it as an anarchistic hymn against educational oppression. Very few however understood the underlying implications of this educational paradigm. In modern times, with the world fast becoming a globalised community, the cultural, social, geographical and technological boundaries are being redefined at an ever increasing pace. This presents economies all across the world with the challenge of trying to educate their children to take their place in the 21st century. However, given the volatile nature of economies and markets, if analysts cannot anticipate how things will unfold in the coming week, can they really prepare our children for the uncertain times ahead?
Unfortunately the quest for clichéd traditional excellence is resulting in the alienation of millions of children around the globe. This leads one to question our priorities for the coming generations? There happens to be great emphasis on getting a degree after which it is assumed that the graduate will automatically be absorbed into the labour force when nothing could be farther from the truth. With leading multi-national and transnational corporations cutting down on jobs, and in the face of a fast shrinking job market, are we really telling our children to get a degree so that they could get a job that does not exist?
The present system, it needs to be understood, was developed and designed for a different age; an age with different preferences, different economic circumstances and different social structures. By teaching our children conformity and rigidity, we are ensuring that they are effectively handicapped by circumstance. Instead of relying on their own dreams and ambitions they are fed by what traditional reasoning dictates. This reasoning is not devoid of its flaws.
In order to get our children through their education we are anaesthetising them, shutting off their senses and reasoning. If a terrorist is being bred in a country, it is because he is being educated to become a terrorist. If the Oslo bomber perpetrated an act of terror against his own people, it was because he was nurtured into becoming one. I came across a booklet being taught to children in madrassah’s of Pakistan and Afghanistan during the years of the Soviet war, and they were being taught in the urdu language the equivalent of, ‘R for revolution, J for Jihad and M for Martyrdom’, etc. The booklet itself was printed in the University of Nebraska.
Modern day education is being used as a tool for manipulating traditional studies modeled around the interests of industrialisation. The segmentation of genders, of subjects, of batches is carried out just like commodity churning factories with the date of manufacturing holding prime importance in the job market. The patrons of education need to realise that an education model based on the production line mentality is in effect a flawed one.
When creativity is suppressed, when collaboration is discouraged, when human capacity is disregarded, then the manufactured product is in effect a vegetable devoid of reason and logic. What educational institutions are now successfully doing is the mass production of individuals who know how to read but are unable to distinguish what is worth reading. If the production of such batches continues, then one can only fear for the future of our coming generations who will have inherited the legacy of conformity and stupidity.
The writer is Sub-Editor, Profit