Sunday, August 31, 2014

What does ‘Education For Freedom’ mean to You?

Usually, it seems to mean: to become free from want. In the sense of being able to stand on one’s own feet, by being able to earn a livelihood or having a job (much more the last, in our case). But what education seems to be doing, in our context at least, is to create wants.

Just because a person has crossed, say, secondary education, ‘traditional’ work no longer seems to be enough for him, whether he has been prepared for any other career or not. And of course if a person does get a job, the desire to be more and more like the ‘educated’ and upwardly mobile – leads to more and more and more wants…

At the other end of the spectrum of views on this, freedom from want is seen as getting rid of the wants! When education is more religious and ‘environmental’, it helps a person realize that his wants are really few and that he is at his most free when helping others, and reducing from the earth the burden of bearing him. A nation of ascetics is an interesting idea but probably not a very desirable one!

So that leaves us the vast space in between the two extreme views (of ‘want more’ and ‘want nothing) on ‘education for freedom’. Where do you find yourself on this? Is this the lens from which to look at ‘education for freedom’? Is this even a worthwhile question in our times? What do you think?