Opening the newspaper and reading page after page of headlines about drug cartels and national drought, it is easy be wrapped around the names of corrupt officials and statistics about the world economy. It is so easy to get dejected by the names, the faces, and the numbers, but our concern can only go so deep. We fail to see that the most important issue we face as a world is more primordial than we could imagine: education reform.
According to the 18th century Philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, “the history of the world is none other than the progress of the consciousness of freedom”. I agree with Hegel. Looking at American History, for example, 60 years ago, a Black man had to move to the back of the bus when a White man needed a seat. Now we know that separate can never be equal. This has become the norm in American society through the dialogue that occurs in an academic setting.
But education shouldn’t be seen objectively. Not all education is the same. A madrasah or Muslim religious institution where children read solely from the Koran is not the same as an American classroom. The object of education is to ripen the mind. The classroom is a place where you are engaged by other students and have the liberty to question what is taught. Through the discussions fostered by education, discrimination of caste, creed, gender, socio- economic background, sexual orientation, age, and ethnicity can by addressed and soon mitigated. Discrimination often fuels acts of violence to each other and to our environment, and the reduction of this discrimination could be the catalyst for the decrease of terrorism, environmental conflicts, and the abuse of women. For example, in India an academic “revolution” is occurring After India’s former President Abdul Kalam published a report called India 2020, The National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT) compiled a new National Curriculum Framework for government schools. 80% of Indian schools are government run so these reforms make a significant difference. The premise of the system is to revolutionize the classroom by utilizing discussion based classes and should connect academia to life outside the schoolyard. There is a large focus on English, Math, National and International History, and Science in the classroom to insure that the students are able to use what they have learned and become Global Students. India also has an issue with socio- economic divides. Through a national education, students can work together and help lower poverty by being engaged in class and have a standard curriculum in which the students motivate and help each other to be the best they can be for the better good and be Global Students and Citizens. What is also fantastic about education is that it is not only for the youth and following generations. What ever these students are learning and engaging in with others from different backgrounds will reach their parents. These students will be excited to bring their new friends home and tell their parents what they learned. That way, through this discussion-based osmosis, an older generation will be informed. Call it a second- hand education if you will. Here is a video that illustrates just how inspiring and effective this system is.
Hopefully other countries will do the same and use education as a way to solve the root of all issues. Through education and discussion, we as a global class will graduate with a mutual understanding of one another and make a difference.
Class is dismissed.