Education - road to social development

KS Peter Kapam *

Morning Dew School situated at Kapaar Kachoung Village under Kakching, Manipur
Morning Dew School situated at Kapaar Kachoung Village under Kakching, Manipur :: Pix - Shonnai Saka

The term 'education' is defined by various experts in different manner. I would like to place this particular definition. 'Education' is a systematic process through which a child or an adult acquires knowledge, experience, skill and sound attitude. It makes an individual civilized, refined, cultured and educated. For a civilized and socialized society, education is the only means for a healthy environment.

Education makes an individual perfect. Every society gives importance to education because it is the key to solve various problems of life. Paulo Freire (1973) famously called this banking - making deposits of knowledge. Such 'schooling' quickly descends into treating learners like objects, things to be acted upon rather than people to be related to. John Dewey (1916) put it, a social process - 'a process of living and not a preparation for future living'.

But a common man has different explanations and understanding regarding 'education'. When talking about education people often confuse it with schooling. Many of us think of places like schools or colleges when seeing or hearing the word 'education'. Teachers or tutors are always reflected and consider as the responsible person in bringing a change in the students.

Of course teachers are part of it but let us not forget that education starts at home. Education starts in a mother womb. It is often said that we are learning all the time and that we may not be conscious of it happening. Learning is both a process and an outcome. As a process it is part of living in the world, part of the way our bodies work. As an outcome it is a new understanding or appreciation of something.

I am not trying to explain the system of education. I am just an ordinary person trying to understand the happening in Manipur related to education. If we talk of education in Manipur, we need to thank the Christian missionaries; catholic in particular. I have not done any survey regarding this. I am just putting it as ordinary denizen of Manipur not as an educationist. If we recall the eighties it was mostly the catholic institutions that were imparting knowledge and skills of life to our children. Most of the toppers are from catholic institution.

I do not mean to say that other schools are not imparting skills and knowledge to our children. Many officers are the product of catholic institution. After 2k many other private institutions sprang up with improved infrastructure and skills. Now everyone is happy to learn that there is healthy competition among the prestigious schools and colleges. We grow when there is competition.

But there are many private institutions mushrooming both in the hills and valley without the required facilities to run a school. I feel many run the school to make money rather than imparting knowledge and skill to our children to compete with the rest of the world.

So far I am talking of only the private institution. What do government schools and colleges in all the districts of Manipur have contributed in building our society? There are numerous government schools and higher secondary schools whose performance is very poor in the recently concluded examination conducted by the Board of Secondary Education and Council of Higher Secondary Education, Manipur.

The worst performance is from the government schools but the best and qualified teachers are in the government school. I say the best and qualified teachers because they were selected from thousands job seekers in Manipur. Then what is the problem? May be everybody knows the reason or God knows it the best. Even the poorest of the poor family does not want their children to study in government schools.

After completing the higher secondary education most of the parents sent their children to other states for better education whether rich or poor. The little income that the parents have is invested in other states for education. I think this is a serious concern for all the denizens of Manipur. I believe everyone has asked this question many times but it is still the same. We always blame the government for their inefficient governance. But let us not forget that we elect our representative to rule and govern the government for the betterment of our society.

Let the leaders of our civil society organization (CSOs) and students' organizations wake up to access the necessity of education system in our society. In every locality, we have CSOs that comprise of youth club or students' unions, women wing and village authority. And we have the apex body of every community, which is the sole authority. If the government is not doing their duty; let the common man teach them a lesson. In a democratic country we are the ones who sent our representatives.

Let us choose our leader wisely and elect those who are ready to work and sacrifice for the people. Since education is a very essential tool in bringing development and building a civilised society; I sincerely appeal our CSO leaders especially students' union leaders to focus on quality education. Merely holding a degree certificate is not going to help in building our society but bring chaos to the community. Education in the broadest sense is meant to aid the human being in his/her pursuit of wholeness. True education is the harmonious development of the physical, mental, moral (spiritual), and social faculties for a life of dedicated service.

Since time immemorial, education is estimated as the road to progress. Different educationists' thoughts from different parts of the world have explained the term 'education' according to the need of the hour.

Some important definitions are:

1. Mahatma Gandhi - "By education I mean an all-round drawing out of the best in man - body, mind and spirit."

2. Rabindranath Tagore - "Education enables the mind to find out the ultimate truth, which gives us the wealth of inner light and love and gives significance to life."

4. Swami Vivekananda - "Education is the manifestation of divine perfection already existing in man."

5. Aristotle - "Education is the creation of sound mind in a sound body."

6. Plato - "Education is the capacity to feel pleasure and pain at the right moment."

9. Aristotle - "Education is the creation of a sound mind in a sound body."

Education is a continuous process. It starts from the womb of the mother and continues till death. It is the process of development from infancy to maturity. It includes the effect of everything which influences human personality. Human behaviour is modified and improved through educational process. Every individual has some goal in his life. Education contributes in attainment of that goal. It directs and instructs an individual to fulfil his desires and needs of his whole personality through the help of teachers and parents.

Human is a social being. If he is not able to adjust himself in different aspects of life his personality can't remain balanced. Through the medium of education he learns to adjust himself with the friends, class fellows, parents, relations, neighbours and teachers etc. Education is concerned with the development of all aspects of a child. It performs the functions of the physical, mental, moral, economic and spiritual development of the individual so that the individual may get rid of his animal instincts. It always induces the individual towards progress. It helps us in building the society according to the changing needs of the time and place.

According to John Dewey, "an individual is a changing and growing personality." The purpose of education is to facilitate the process of his/her growth. Therefore, the role of education is countless for a perfect society and man. It is necessary for every society and nation to bring holistic happiness and prosperity to its individuals.

Students are to be moulded only by making them experience the significance of these values in the school. Teachers could achieve this only by the lived example of their lives manifested in word and deed. We cannot solely depend upon teachers but the involvement of parent is a must in moulding our child to achieve his/her goal in life. Parents, teachers and students should go together to in building our society for a better tomorrow.

According to James Ross, "The aim of education is the development of valuable personality and spiritual individuality." If education is that important in building a better person and society at large; where do the people of Manipur stand in the field of education? Let us all joint together in moulding the young minds for a clean and healthy society.

The true aim of education cannot be other than the highest development of the individual. Let education burn the individual flame, feeding it with the oil of society. Let our children grow into better human persons committed to work for the creation of better society with love, peace, freedom, justice and harmony. Let our society glow with knowledge of wisdom.

* KS Peter Kapam wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer can be reached at Friedle_kapai(AT)yahoo(DOT)co(DOT)in
This article was posted on July 17, 2016.

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