Education as Development

Development and Education are about liberating people from all that holds them back from a full human life. Therefore ultimately development and education are about transformation, a process that involves spiritual and political growth. The role of the educator therefore is to present to the people in challenging form the issues they themselves raised in a confused form.

Revitalizing sustainable democracy and economies means rethinking education. Education is a critical aspect in any Developmental policy, which must focus on people and communities. Today modern education is training children all over the world for the centralized global economy with essentially the same curriculum in every environment no matter what the cultural tradition, resource or aspiration. The absence of in-depth and critical learning as to how and why certain ‘truths are truths at all,’ and the lack of connection between mind, heart and hand are all increasing. The end result has been catastrophic; it has led to disorder, confusion and dysfunctional minds. 

As Schumacher adds, the problems of education are merely reflections of the deeper problems of our time. They are problems that will and cannot be solved by organizations, administration or money because the problem of education is a metaphysical disease and the cure therefore must be metaphysical. He continues, education which fails to clarify our central convictions, is mere training or indulgence. Hence, as long as the present anti-metaphysical temper persists, the disorder will grow worse. Education, far from being human’s greatest resource, will then be an agent of destruction.

Catherine Sneed says that our society and educational system teaches us that solution lies in progress, better and faster technology and more machines. Invariably, on failure, blame is on these machine and technology. But the crisis in not what is wrong with machines but what is wrong with us? The question therefore is how do educational institutes liberate themselves from powers that be and to rehumanize itself. Amilcar Cabra states, “Self criticism is an act of frankness, courage, comradeship and awareness of our responsibilities, a proof of our will to accomplish and to accomplish properly. To criticize oneself is to reconstruct oneself within oneself in order to serve better.” Education for its fullest development must be a political act.

Transformation is not a process where one person can do the transformation for somebody else. It is a spiritual journey that involves the personal and the collective characters of the human spirit with a continuous process of ‘reflection and action.’ Development must begin with developing people’s minds and capacities. It is not first in the teaching of how to make or build knowledge around simple facts, but in how to live. Humanity and wisdom must be at the core of the process.