The present society in which we live in is experiencing many changes and alterations. The social relations and interactions are swinging like a pendulum kabhi (sometimes) here, and kabhi there. With continuous changes and fluctuations in society and social relations, hapless creatures (human beings) are subjected to many challenges and confrontations. Sociologically speaking a change in a society or social relations is one of the most important factors, exposing hapless creatures to new challenges and confrontations.
Arnold Toynbee maintained that every society faces challenges posed by environment, internal and external elements. The nature of response to these challenges determines the fate of society. The changes and challenges in a society are not something new or modern. Societies from antiquity have been experiencing these changes and challenges, but the changes in present society have brought new challenges and confrontations. Poverty, gender inequality, terrorism, environment pollution, human trafficking, gender discrimination, are some of the main confrontations that modern society is facing. But the most dangerous of all challenges of present society especially in third world is “education”, or rather, as I prefer to call it schooling or literacy.
Bowles and Gintis, (1976) acknowledged the contribution of school education in reducing mass illiteracy and providing learning chances for people, but argued that school education could not deliver what enlightened reformers hoped for. Scholars like Ivan Illich, Paul Freire, Apple, Bowels, Reids, Bourdieu and many others highlighted the role and function of schooling in reproducing and reinforcing social inequalities. Although most of these studies were west and European centric, they represented the scenario of other parts of the globe as well.
The challenges and confrontations posed by schooling in the West and Europe are not the same in the societies having a different social, political and economic setup. The promotion of mass schools and schooling in these countries by national and international actors is producing a large chunk of poorly-educated people. This endangers the future of these countries and poses threat to the whole world.
In my recent interaction, I met a few poorly-educated groups in the Indian administered are of Kashmir during an interactive lecture arranged by Ignited Minds Circle, an organization that claimed ‘to provide a way for students to develop a scientific temper’. During the interaction the theory and hypothesis of mal-education was again affirmed. It was observed the group consisted many poorly-educated children some of them having a deficiency in educational nutrients like gender sensitivity, value neutrality, cultural relativity, mutual respect, etc. In the most affected of this mal-educated lot, I found a few children are over nutritional; Over nutritional, in the sense that the quantity and the amount of educational nutrients they have been provided with are over nutrition. This has radicalized them and developed a self-syndrome among them. The only version of truth before them is their version. In their opinions, they are the best of creatures under the sun and them alone. Had they been exposed to the world would they have never developed this disease? They would have at least got a chance to burn some calories.
Their software would have not been corrupted and destructed by a virus called radicalization, intolerance and ethnocentrism had there been the installation of an antivirus. The texts (books, audio, video etc.) they are installed with are full of viruses and without installation of any antivirus they are highly insecure and proneto mal-function. It is about this “education” system and group about which Bertrand Russell, way back read, “Men are born ignorant, not stupid. They are made stupid by education”.
*Dr. Fayaz Ahmad Bhat is a student of Sociology, social activist, teaching Sociology at Government Degree College, Banihal, India. He is an alumnus of Jamia Millia Islamia. Dr. Fayaz Ahmad Bhat has many research publications to his credit. His columns and analyses appear in international, national and local newspapers, web portals and blogs. He has awards and fellowships to his credit as well.Dr. Fayaz has proposed and developed many concepts and theories and has been in news for his theory of “mal-education.” He has received invitations across the globe to present and share his research, opinion and views in academic, seminars and conferences.He can be reached at: [email protected]