15 August, 2020

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Role Of Education In Nation-Building 

By Rifaq Azhar –

Rifaq Azhar

In modern days, the term called ‘Social reform’ has been exponentially grabbed much attention of various parties and also became the focal point of every discussion being held at various level locally and internationally. It is widely suggested by many intellectuals and experts that if any society desires to enrich its standard and livelihood and to be an exemplary society that succeeded tremendously in attaining its pinnacle in various spectrum of prosperity, must indispensably embark on self-evaluation first enabling it to clearly identify its areas of strengths and weaknesses, so that it will be able to come up with unique mechanisms to convert its weaknesses into strengths and brace itself enough to encounter future obstacles. 

It is obvious that when we engage in any form of self-evaluation or prioritize the list of weaknesses that we probably face in day to day life whether it may be personal or social, the norm called ‘ignorance’ will immediately down in our minds as a primary weakness. Hence, all forms of ignorance prevailing in a society are obviously a great curse threatening the existence and self-identity of particular society. In this sense, none of us will contradict with my point that this threat namely ignorance must be overwhelmingly expelled in any way and at any cost. Perhaps, some may argue that it is not rational to say that ignorance still exists amid our society while the estimated level of literacy in Sri Lanka exceeds more than 90 percent. It is true to certain extend, but here I suppose to point out relatively wider aspects of ignorance about which we never mind or let say we neglected to think of it. The real meaning of ignorance which I intend to highlight is ignorance about our nature and hidden inner potentiality about which we are still not ready to discover, ignorance about our indigenous instincts and aspirations towards which as Sri Lankans we are quickly adoptable and having strong bond and above all, ignorance about our glorious history where our ancestors were able to control the region economically and culturally to larger extend and be strong enough to lead a respectable and decent life while they were shining in every facet of life without undermining their abilities and capabilities and even depending on ‘others’ for their livelihood and protection. It is more appropriate if I describe this ignorance as primary ignorance about us and our self-identity, which is obviously a great threat we have been encountering nowadays. 

The primary objective of this article is to shed light on this perception about the ignorance and how we made ourselves forgotten by external and internal factors. Having comprehended this perception, we should clearly distinguish the areas in which this ignorance is reflected and still alive and how it controls the minds of indigenous people irrespective of their academic standard and social statues. Based on the meticulous observations and exhaustive researches conducted by experts and professionals, we can typically categorize the areas of ignorance into four. Those are education policy of our country; political and legal system prevails since colonial periods to this date; economic policies that were conceptualized by foreign minds and finally socio-cultural practices which were determined by North and have been willingly or unwillingly practicing by South.    

Here, I neither mean to criticize the contemporary systems that our country has adopted in all four aspects which remain for many decades nor to introduce new policies as alternatives. Instead, I intend to urge ourselves to conduct self-evaluation in all facets of life including above four aspects in order to eradicate this primary threat forever and foster in ourselves the thought of self-identities and indigenous aspirations while we involve in social reforms. In this great journey, education can play a significant role in attaining such noble objectives. At first, I would like to raise a preliminary question over the outcomes of present education policy whether it has really attained what it does mean or failed to do so. As we all know that the ultimate objectives of any education are predominantly to impart knowledge that enables each student to be creative and beneficial to their own society and then nation and also to instil in them the very basic ethics and moralities while discovering and developing their hidden talents and skills. 

By attaining such objectives, we can firmly believe that all forms of ignorance will be eliminated from our society whereas these objectives will surely create a society of which each member will be bearing excellent behaviours and admirable qualities and moulding themselves with precious attitudes and visionary thoughts. Besides, there is no doubt that these objectives will surely help us to foster brotherhood and love towards our environment. It is therefore very clear that the objectives of any education policy are not matters of how far we have improved the level of literacy or increased the passing rate in the exams or what kind of courses we offered in order for students to get their dreamed careers. Rather, those objectives should be beyond these measures. In fact, it will be a great success in human history, if any education policy could produce generations whose primary foundation is knowledge cemented with ethics and morality. 

Many senior scholars based on their observations and researches over the consequences and the ground realities that our national education policy has so far generated, have articulated their positions which are against to the present education system and its policy that have been followed in every schools. Moreover, they lash out this system and policy since they all were conceptualized by external elements neglecting national aspirations and requirements which should have been the core of every education in Sri Lanka and they continue to say that present system has accumulated all its efforts only to supply adequate employers as per the demand that corporate cartels create periodically. Therefore, the main concern of their critics is the fact that our education policy failed to indoctrinate indigenous potentiality and moreover it totally neglected the aspirations of native communities. Rather, entire system, which is even stranger to local mind-set, has been designed catering to the requirements of imperialist masters. In fact, the objectives of our education system ranging from kindergarten to university levels are virtually concentrated on adopting selfish psychology with its different dimensions by creating perception that education will provide good jobs and then excellent emoluments along with some perks.   

According to many senior educationists, they point out that failure to instil in each student the love of readings and curiosity towards research and also failure to encourage learners to adopt sense of moral responsibility towards their own family, neighbour and society are some of negative consequences of present system. In addition to that, many senior experts in the field of economy and finance argue that the present education failed even to provide the students the very basic financial knowledge in its every stage. Instead of that, it cleverly and covertly promotes among students the culture of unrestricted consumerism and fancy lifestyle. On other hand, many environmentalists express their concerns over the current education policy that it almost failed to inculcate in every student the sense of love and care towards the nature and environment. By saying this point, it is unfair if anyone rush to label me as conservative or whatever name. Here I would like to inhabit in ourselves the thought that although we explore the world and other civilizations, we must act in accordance with aspirations of native people. Briefly saying, our education system, which is however stranger to our community, failed to eradicate all forms of ignorance that were mentioned previously. 

Since Sri Lanka is a multi-ethnic and pluralistic country made up of Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims and Burghers, our education system and policy should have been designed catering to the aspirations of native communities not to the aspirations of international communities. Many senior educationists suggest that this idea of accommodating all ethnic groups while designing and developing the native education policy and contents has been deliberately avoided due to various reasons. According to them, excluding the minorities from all aspects is yet another ignorance that we didn’t realize yet. This ignorance led the country towards brutal civil war that prolonged about three decades. What we have achieved through this bloody conflict is none other than loss of humanity and backwardness. 

There are many vivid testimonies that all communities in this country irrespective of their religion and race had immensely contributed to the advancement of this nation and still they continue as same as before within their capacities and capabilities. But, it is unfortunate to point out that we have been covertly instructed to erase our happiest moments and the sense of harmony and tolerance that we used to share among ourselves prior to the advent of colonial powers. This is the turning point where we tend to forget. While undertaking excessive research on colonial era and the patterns of imperialistic dominance since then to modern days in which the North happened to control the South, we will be able to spot what were the root causes of these series of ethnic tensions that took place in the past history; who were the major players behind the veil in the history igniting the conflicts and discriminations and what were their motives behind all such scenarios. In search of such elements that divided people into groups in the past, we can somewhat find relevance  between colonial era and modern age of technology in terms of root causes and key players and also identify best strategies to overcome this obstacles forever. 

In short, there are two types of ignorance that we didn’t realize yet. One is ignorance about us as whole and our inner potentiality and hidden talents whereas the second is ignorance about our nature or our primary strength which is none other than pluralism. The failure to realize the first ignorance led us to lose our self-identity and make us to depend on others forever. Besides, second ignorance brought divisions and discriminations among us resulting brutal conflicts within us. At this crucial juncture, education based on the reality and truth is most powerful weapons that everyone can use against any form of oppression. Having strong believes in education will definitely help us to expel all forms of ignorance and to resist any external threat come across on our way to progress and sustainability. If we could succeed in education in the line with the aspirations of native people, we will be able to overcome all forms of ignorance rooted in rest of other three aspects. I strongly believe in that proper education policy and curriculum designed by us not by others on par with our identity and aspirations can play significant role in expelling all forms of ignorance among us and subsequently uniting all civilians of this nation under the one identity called Sri Lankans.    

 Rifaq Azhar – Student – PGD in International Relations, Bandaranaike Centre for International Studies – Colombo  

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Latest comments

  • 7
    5

    what are you talking. christians build christian schools and what do they say. christians are above all and turn everyone else to Christianity. muslims do the same. christians are hostile to even Catholics. sunnis are hostile to Shias, Sufis, Ahmadia and every other sects. do you think Sinhala buddhists wil survive if we give space both of you muslims and christians. Becauxse, you both believe in each one’s superiority. the simple example is Sunnis killing shia, and discrimnating all toerh sects such as sufis, Ahmsadia etc., YOu have islaic culture in 52 countries. I Am not talking here after how christians are overpowering other religions). Have you given space for other religions in those countries. Even here in Srilanka, YOu protested agaonst the Dalada PErahera in Mahanuwara. Most recetnly, you afre protesting in many buddhist processions. You are invading many buddhist vihara grounds in Sri lanka. YOu have done the same thing even In INdia and they know it. Recently, there were anti-muslims violence because you killed a Sinhala buddhist driver who had two children. Every muslims writer tlked about the repercussions of Sinhala peolle responded. but never tlked about how violent are muslims. Besides all these Muslims are well known (besies, importing muslims in large numbers and high birth rates. going behind Sinhala girls. Even recently, Rishad Bathiuddin had opposed learning of Sinhala children and Muslim children in the same school and had build a separate muslim school in Kurunegala. Sri lankan govt keep quiet those. Middle eastern countries send Maulavis in hundreds and spend money in Srilanka for islamic colonization. they are bribing sinhala politicians various way. This is a short lise. So, what are you talking.

    • 1
      5

      Jim donkey as usual Muslim bashing dog barking here. I have written about your identity below, read.

    • 4
      4

      This Jim softy bugger seems to be another living on government pensions, the useless lot wasting tax payer money in the nation.

      If he is a productive guy, I don’t think he will have time to write this many comments

    • 0
      0

      this comment is bias against other communities

      • 3
        2

        ISlam is biased against all other non-believers.

    • 1
      3

      JIM
      The UN states that the Rohingyas are one of the most persecuted groups

      • 1
        1

        RBH: You are idiot. UN is funded by the west and West want only their agenda. Everybody except your kind, not everybody of them, knows UN is a JOKE. there are intelligent muslims but they re not ready to die as ISIS, DAESH, ISIL, AL NUSRA…… a long list except you ignorents in Sri lanka

        • 1
          1

          JIM
          everybody see what is happening Rohingyas

  • 7
    0

    “Since Sri Lanka is a multi-ethnic and pluralistic country made up of Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims and Burghers, our education system and policy should have been designed catering to the aspirations of native communities not to the aspirations of international communities.”

    A frog in the well approach ?

  • 2
    0

    ‘Since Sri Lanka is a multi-ethnic and pluralistic country’ – that describes almost every country on Earth but their education systems do not cater for every race and religion.

    • 2
      0

      Education system should not cater for races or religions, it should cater to human kind irrespective of social identities.

      There should be a scientific approach based on experiment – observation – comprehension theory which empowers individuals to challenge conventional wisdom.

      Only that will pave the way for human kind to shed differences; the main obstacle for human progress mainly in the form of religion.

  • 3
    3

    This is for all those who comment here or read comments. This low grade rotten JIM SOFTY who start his Muslim bashing on any article relevant to Muslims is really not a Sinhalese. This bastard really got caught by commenting on an article by Affan Abdul Haleem on 17-04-2018 CT. This was written in Sinhala and in the forum there were only one comment in Sinhala written by a Muslim and the rest were in English all by this Jim Softy. I wrote asking why he was giving his comment in English although the readers will be Sinhalese or those who are literate in Sinhala but no reply.

    So today I commented, “Jim Donkey you really got caught, you had written, “YOur article as written in english and tranlated”, any educated Sinhalese will say it was not a translation but purely written in Sinhala. In other word you are implying it was translated into English and you rotten bastard commenting on English because you do not know Sinhala. So you are a rotten Tamil or Christian Tamil bastard or a racist person who does not know Sinhala. Who are you Muslim bashing devil in provocative way?” This definitely shows he is not a Sinhalese. I now suspect even other Muslim bashing comments by various names in fact very few were from fanatic Buddhist Sinhalese and rest are by these Christian Tamils, Tamil or Christian Sinhalese. I leave this to CT to verify this.

  • 3
    0

    Education and Intelligence are two different things. The latter one is in short supply in SL by nature or by genes or by culture. Today the whole purpose and target of our (book memorizing) Education system seems to land students on the jobs (that too in the local markets).

    Our Education system is designed to the locals and for the local needs. For example, we limit who can get into universities because the nation can’t afford more universities or ready to change the system. Job markets out of SL, the nation is seen as having less number of degree holders compared to South Asian counterparts, but we are still happy to live with the myth that quality over quantity applies here too.

  • 1
    1

    This is for muslims who wants to build nations in Sri lanka. You are just 10%. Sinhala buddhism is our culture and our civilization. Becuse, Unlike christianity and Islam buddhism need no protrction from anyone or Almighty doe snot have to protect it. buddhism is the eternal Truth. IT cn hide becuse humans, such as christians and Muslims, are ignorent. So, our triumph is to proterct our cuklture and civilization which we know those made us and kept us happy. We are not inhuman like you who believe in middele eastern faiths. We have sinhale. that is our nation, out country. YOU SHOULD RESPECT THE MAJORiTY CULTURE AND TRY YOUR BEST TO LIVE WITH THEM. as BUDDHISM IS AND AS BUDDHSIT CULTURE IS SLOW BUT WE SURVIVE. that is my belief. I know Because of LTTE tamils now you want to dominate us. I know western countries want a share of our land becuse they need business and they need to bother china’s development, they need to create problems between china and India. Stupid Saudi Arabia may do it. Get it in short.

  • 3
    2

    RIFAQ AShar: YOu r religion is in 52 countries. YOu people very well know that buddhism is a minority religion in the world. You know how do you people are invading, Invasive, Aggrrive and PRedatory all over the world. Sinhale, sionhala buddhism are our country and out culture. Your ultimate goal is a Caliphate encircling Srilanka eastern Africa etc., Sri lanka, India and Myanmar etc., are resisitng that attmept. You need to understand how to live with other religions. Understand you kill even your closest realtive SHIAS. We are not ready to accept your Crap.

  • 1
    0

    If Sri Lanka put the best possible educational system into practice we’d be able to see

    1. All the decisions related to education is made by the state

    2. All the schools & almost all the universities are owned & managed by the state.

    3. Training & skills development programs related to employment are done by both state & private sector.

    4. More practical definition to free education, to mean free access rather than free of charge.

    5. It’s mandatory for parents to pay for children’s education & make available access for educational loans.

    6. Total ban on tuition for school students.

    7. Giving importance for teacher performance evaluation & a sound system for it.

    8. Teacher promotions & pensions directly depend of performance reports.

    9. 2 types of teachers in schools; class teachers & subject teachers.

    10. Practical exams are mandatory to O/L & A/L students.

    11. University entrance is pre-decided on O/L 1st attempt results & confirm after A/L results of only 1st & 2nd attempt.

    12. Education from village school only & no school buses/vans. children must walk/paddle to school.

    13. Attach health report to every educational certificate.

    14. School sports is relevant to children’s physical & mental health only rather than making national players for competitions.

    Add some more if you want.

  • 0
    0

    Our country had the highest percentage of educated people in Asia, some 60 – 70 years back. Then these selfish, biased and racist political people started modifying a well working system for sheer political reasons and in the process messed up everything what we had and felt proud about. Even India was behind us then but today India has grown up and progressing with tremendous speed, we just cannot match.

    Our politicians had no vision in many things and especially in education too. They brought in the medium of instruction to local languages and pushed English language away with their “Swabhasha” thing, solely to make the local so called ‘patriots’ and religious prelates feel happy. They did not realize the mistake they were making. The young Sri Lankans all over the country suffered a good basic and fundamental education due to the wrong policies of inexperienced and politically motivated leaders and ministers.

    The politicians appointed non professional ministers for the education portfolio all through out and still doing the same mistake. Badiuddin Mohamed, I.M.R.A Iriyagolla type people are not fit to be the education ministers ! Lanka has professional and well qualified people to advice the dumb politically appointed ministers, but politics played havoc and ruined our future generations.

    Unless they make English education in each and every school in Lanka from early schooling time and continue with constructive English education, while teaching the mother tongue at the same time.
    Most of the science and advanced subjects are taught only in English language and only that can open up the brain washed minds of ‘mahawansa’ fictional mindset of the poor students’ ‘frog in the well’ mentality.

    That will only bring knowledge, job opportunities, meaningful life, peace, prosperity and reconciliation.
    People will become more civilized and a sense of humanity will blossom.
    No racial riots, jealousy, or war will prevail.

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