Culture as Education

At the core of all historical processes, education and educational institutions has been a primary mover in shaping the discourse of human relation and the relationship between states, which in turn has reshaped the educational discourse. Education is neither a value-free activity nor a value-free process. It is value laden and stands to mould human behavior, human response to the elements around and shapes the discourses of society towards an intended direction, which could either be liberating or suppressing. The recognition of the existence of this internal contradiction is essential in understanding the role of education in societal transformation.

For people to achieve their humanization, they need to know their history. There needs to be realization that for liberation of the human mind and spirit; re-humanization and re-building of society, education cannot obscure, much less deliberately avoid, erase or distort a people’s history. Culture is an essential element of the history of a people. In fact culture is the product of a history just as the flower is the product of a plant. Culture, therefore is history itself. Any education system that distorts a people’s history is in effect destroying culture. The denial of a people’s history is the denial of culture itself. 

Culture is a dynamic process by which human creates through knowledge and action. It is through the power of culture that a society bridges between where things were (history), where things are now (present) and their yearnings of what they wish to be (vision). It constructs a process where people are empowered as individuals and as a community to proactively engage in becoming the change they envision both at the personal and collective level. Culture wants life in all its richness; it demands and asserts freedom. Culture indeed is a way of life and is the essence of communication which is to know and understand. The liberation of the thought from its present condition requires a society to rediscover their consciousness and to locate their humanity in the context of a struggle for dignity. In other words the process of education is calling upon all to take into account their true history and their past and also be willing to accept that there indeed is a future by aiding and empowering each other.

For education to be vibrant in Naga society there is also a need to make Naga culture into a living form. So far, Naga culture has been reduced to handicrafts, artifacts and the museum; all of which are static forms of a commodified culture, but not culture itself. A richer and dynamic understanding and perception of culture needs to be rediscovered; an understanding of culture that reflects Naga values, worldviews, ethics and self-worth. In essence the foundation of an applicable education demands that Naga culture in its richness if fully embodied in the consciousness of the society.