By Tabish Khursheed
Education is a vital and a significant ingredient to grow from animalism to humanism, from regression to progression, barbarism to civilization and for the realization of latent spirit and potential we, human beings, are born with. It should aim at disciplining our self and inject values which are healthy for the nourishment of the physical, intellectual and spiritual dimensions of our existence. Apart from this, its scope shouldn’t be narrowed to improvement of individualization but education should be helpful in abating the socio-political issues confronting our collective life . Education is what should be trusted and utilized to put a balm to our individual and collective weaknesses and ills. Having said this, the prominent author Will Durant examines process and nature of education c in our times and suggests that transformative educational culture could be utilized to usher a new wave of educating our children.
Durant’s view of education is multidimensional, in the sense that, it imparts lessons for the fuller and all-round development of a student’s character. The first emphasis he puts on is our physical well being and health and suggests that students should be trained how they can nurse their physical needs and take care of their physical ills wherever their capacity is sufficient to deliver in this respect. Every student, he wants, should be made conscious about the sensitivity and significance of physical health and it’s driving character of all existence. Everyone should at least be qualified enough to provide first aid treatment not only to himself but others as well because we can’t always wait for a doctor’s assistance when situation is alarming and emergency-battle between time and our life.
We can at least be able to differentiate between medicine catering to headache, fever, stomach ache and throat infection which is basic to the growth of a healthy self. After the physical aspect, Durant talks about the moral side of human beings. In a world, according to Durant, where a multitude of narratives conflict each other and where even morality is being cross checked and sought to be examined in its socio-cultural relativism , it has become challenging to rest at mutual consensus about things. However, there are a lot of moral values which are similar across boards of culture and need to be inculcated in the behavior of students. Respect for elders, affection for little ones, admiration of merit, rejection of mediocrity, love for peace and stability, hatred for violence and instability, dismissal of evil and embracing of righteousness, responsibility within self and duty beyond self , are the universal and inclusive moral values which at least could be injected in our students.
If anything distinguishes human beings from the four legged creatures , it is their moral colour and if it is ignored the line of differentiation between human and animal is doomed to get extinct, according to Durant.
The third element he gives importance to is intelligence. In the domain of intelligence, Durant includes our technical ability serving different purposes which we have hitherto expected others to perform. He believes that the best way to train intelligence in school would be through the manual and domestic arts. Durant then suggests that students apart from having academic excellence should be worthy mechanics, carpenters, plumbers and different technicians . One should be capable to fix wires, radio, and television and refrigerator problems and be carpenters and mansions at the same time. In a mechanistic and technology driven world, t he need of technicians in our day to day lives is increasing on a rampant rate and we can’t afford to remain ignorant in the same field.
The forth emphasis he gives to is development of conscience in students regarding nature.
All students, he believes, should be made nature lovers and prepared to realize its innate aestheticism and essential diversity important for our existence on the planet earth. The students should be instructed to develop aesthetic and mystic sensibility towards the phenomenon of nature so that it could appear to them as a lively and active participant in the operation of our existence. Durant writes, “Certainly I should like our children to be at home with nature’s infinite variety, to love not merely her verdure and blossoming but her mystic mists and mellow decay, to enjoy the ocean like Byron, and the sun like Turner,and the rain like Whistler, and the Nightingale like Keats”. The moment we get conscious about the sensitive character of nature and surroundings around it is only then our constitutive and integrated life force takes birth. After this comprehensive physical, moral and intellectual training Durant wants subjects like history, philosophy and others to be instructed and taught in colleges.
This whole Durantian methodology of education is not only revolutionary in nature but the most composed and balanced view about character building of students. Far from this , our educational culture in Kashmir doesn’t have any sufficient application with the practical concerns of life we are beset with. Time has indeed come when we need to develop education of applied-subjects so that students practice or experiment what they are taught in closed classrooms. In addition to this, we should be aware and educated about ourselves and life around before being fed by super philosophical or intellectual theories which are metaphysical or abstract in nature and temperament. Live long education and the educated!
—The author hails from Anantnag and can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org