Is education a bad thing?

Schooling the WorldI just watched an amazing film, “Schooling the World“, which basically says that school education isn’t an answer to problems of poverty or “development” (whatever this is) but actually is the major problem. Modern school education would disconnect children from sustainable livelihoods and pull them with a false promise of progress and western style careers into misery and isolation. It’s purpose would be to dominate, homogenise culture and people and to serve the interests of a global economy.

Among the inspiring protagonists in the film, there is Manish Jain from Shikshantar – The People’s Institute for Rethinking Education and Development, who says:

“What’s amazing to me is that people who are claiming to be concerned with social justice, don’t see the huge kind of social hierarchy and inequity that is created through modern education.”

Lot’s of things to think about in this film. Is education a bad thing? How can we get back to a system that values learning in all its form over conformist curricula? Shall we send “every child to school” (as claims the Education For All initiative by the UN, strongly criticised in the film) – no matter what are the consequences? What do you think?

(PS: You can download the film – 60 min – from the website)

“Through other Eyes” – questioning or reproducing binaries?

The development education online resource “Through other Eyes”, designed by global education Professor Vanessa Andreotti and critical literacy Professor Lynn Mario de Souza, aims to help “learning to read the world”. The authors’ conception of global education is based on post-colonial theory, which questions interiorized ways of seeing the world in order to learn to live with uncertainty, complexity and multiple perspectives. However, there is the danger that the underlying colonial binary between “western” oppressors and “indigenous” oppressed perpetuates through the learning process in a reversed sense: The critical deconstruction of a normative progress based “western” worldview, might lead – though not being intended – to a normative elevation of “indigenous” knowledge.

The attached paper, submitted in the frame of the “Principles and Practices of Development Education” module in the DE Master at the Institute of Education/University of London, takes a closer look on the conflict between the supposed deconstruction and, in my view, the de facto reconstruction of cultural and moral binaries, and the possible fault lines that lead to this impression, despite the stated opposite intention of the authors. It uses a discussion paper on “Quality criteria in Development Education” by the German NGDO platform VENRO as analytical framework:

Through other Eyes – questioning or reproducing binaries

Enjoy the reading! As always, critical comments and feedback are appreciated.