Breaking the mould

A recent education supplement of a leading daily news paper carried an article by school principal of local and national repute. According to the educationist, the role of good education is “to mould the minds of students, bring about desired changes in their thinking and create a group of people who would be dynamic in thought and action”. 

In the first appearance it appeared like the mind-moulding mission statement of a radical right wing educational institution!! The presumption of such a view is that students are empty headed or misguided, so their thinking needs deliberate alteration through education.

The above statement leads me to ask the following questions:

1. Has the concept of apperceptive mass, been relegated to the textbooks for aspiring teachers with little or no use in the schools? And who decides what mould is best suited anyway?

2. If the role of education is to `bring about desired changes in thinking`, whose desires are we talking about- the state, the designers of curriculum, the lobby of academics who have a vested interest in this process of thought alteration? If the thought alteration process is determined by someone else other than the child, how would it impact his individuality, original thinking, etc?

3. How dynamic in thought and action would this educated group be if they cannot think dynamically and diversely as individuals first? What is more important that they think and act in unison or bring their uniqueness to contribute to group synergy?

Being an educationist myself, and having being exposed to education systems in different countries and from different perspectives, I believe that each child is unique and education plays an important role in developing and nurturing this uniqueness, helping them discover who they are while respecting their creativity, skills and thoughts. A good educational institution does this by encouraging independent thought and action while differentiating between acceptable and unacceptable social behaviours.