In these series of posts (part 1 and part 2 here), we have talked about problems with the modern schooling system and have tried to look at the paradigm of modernity inside which the system functions. In this final post in the series, we will try to talk about a tentative way forward with school education.
First we need to talk a little bit more about modernity. If we look at nations, what we understand by the word ‘development’ is material progress. In this talk of development there is no talk of human well-being. For example, Finland, a developed nation with the world’s best education system also has 50% of its families having no children and 12% of its families being a single parent household. In other words, a major breakdown of its family structure. This seems to be where the materialistic paradigm takes us when applied efficiently. People need food, clothing, shelter but beyond a certain minimum, materialistic possessions do not seem to increase or ensure well-being. Living within the materialistic paradigm, this does not seem to be obvious to most people. In modernity, at the level of individual, family or society, well-being is falsely equated with material possessions and success/ failure are decided on measurable materialistic parameters.
The paradigm of modernity is western in origin and in India we seem to have only half-heartedly adopted it (65% of our children fail the education system). Our traditional paradigm can be called the paradigm of the sanaatan, the eternal paradigm based on the way the universe IS. If we use the word Truth to mean something that is unchanging across time and space, we can also call the sanaatan the paradigm of Truth. Well-being (happiness, health, harmony etc.) is at the very heart of this paradigm.
Whatever we try at an individual level, at the societal level it is not possible to shift paradigms in any planned manner. Paradigm changes happen slowly and over several human lifetimes. So, what can we do about the education system beyond the literacy and numeracy that all schools seem to manage without too much trouble? Since this is a short post, let me list out the kinds of things that can be involved in a new kind of education. These could be:
– Understanding the paradigm of modernity and the paradigm of the sanaatan.
– Teaching based on the sanaatan or on the way things ARE.
– Understanding how perception works and the transitory nature of what contaminates it.
– Using the dhyaaanakarshan vidhi to draw the attention of the students towards the Truth so that it can be revealed to them.
– Focusing on developing the student’s power of discrimination (Viveka) through logic.
– Focusing on effective communication.
– Understanding basic distinctions like
—– Truth and opinion/ idea/ fact/ ideology etc.
—– Meaning and word
—– Being and doing
—– Quality and quantity etc.
The list above is only indicative. It needs to be expanded and fine-tuned in the environment of a school willing to experiment with this philosophy. If you are interested, you can get in touch with me at email@example.com to take the conversation forward. Namaste!