Part 10: Politics and Education
To mistake education for classroom schooling is an error committed by most of us without our realising it. Education is social property while schooling up to higher education standards belongs to institutions.
Everywhere in the world education precedes schooling and extends beyond school. Those that control schooling decide when to start or finish. They peg it at a price and dish our so much for anyone willing to pay in measured terms while education is beyond measure.
Social education on the other is free. You learn your first language by free association with people around. Not needing to call anyone your teacher, knowledge of social reality develops over time.
Schooling does not register or give marks for what we learn from social education as children or afterwards. Animals get education without being schooled.
One interesting contrast or rather big contradiction of measured schooling (the politics of education) is the fact that where two or more persons share equal level of certification some of them prove to be more knowledgeable than others. Viewed from critical perspective only education provides knowledge while schooling serves the purpose of politics.
If we continue to bank on only knowledge supposed to be delivered to us by occasion of schooling, the balance of right thinking diminishes to such levels that society will be populated by more educated fools over longest period.
Governments have taken up the gigantic task of managing everyone including those opposing them. That requires providing the enabling environment where society gets further education beyond schooling.
Educating a population for enhancing human capital gainful resourcefulness is a task beyond classroom schooling. Everyone is born as an input to society with potential to add value for optimal shared gains. In life some people grow to be more resourceful than others due to various reasons including barriers and facilities along the way.
Education is not all about numbers
Building schools and extra classroom blocks is not enough. Educational standards need to fulfil quality requirements for competitive advantage in all areas of competence. Providing good education needed for economic advancement is therefore not mere number gains.
Education planning is best done in response to much needed development priorities. Are our politicians giving us enough? Mass awareness creation can be acquired by collective engagement of whole society. Schools by their limitations may not be doing enough in giving back to society the level of sophistication that liberates all. Everyone talks about politics as though no-go area. Political education in schools and higher education is more geared to preparing for exams than motivation to face real life movers of the system who occupy key political positions.
Job creation and economic advancement is not all about compiling neatly presented statistical data. It takes real people to do the required jobs. They need education which is not always provided by schooling. A society with more educated persons poses greater challenges to any political order.
Constraints of not being able to get the youths employed is no good reason for any political order to cut down on education. Often there is dilemma regarding where priorities are highest. Building classrooms, roads, or investment on educating a population?
An enlightened society becomes sophisticated for politicians to handle without pain. There is no easy ride without being challenged. Education goes with huge cost and higher gains not only by way of how much money is involved. Demands are high and too numerous for the regime to handle with no quick fix solutions readily at hand.
Creating jobs to keep the growing educated members of society gainfully occupied does not come about by elaborate plans on paper alone. The enabling economic environment creates opportunities for thriving entrepreneurs and energetic youth population to engage in revenue generating ventures while serving society.
Promoting Enterprise Culture to Grow an Enterprising Population
Beyond numbers and neatly compiled reports, education is meant to enhance not just employable skills required by commerce, industry, and office jobs. It takes an enterprising population to propel the economic engine.
By robust policy provisions, development and promotion of enterprise culture can be achieved. That mindset is what motivates people to engage in small and medium enterprises thereby generating taxable revenue to boost the economy.
To create the enabling economic environment requires clearly conceived plans and better policies put in place by government. Boosting employment in the private sector yields higher gains through economic engagement capable of generating taxable revenue base. Goods and services delivered in variety will give consumers wider choices.
Increased demand and higher spending propels the velocity of cashflow in faster circulation. Some businesses become source of supply for others. In similar way other businesses serve as chain of distribution for those in the production line.
It takes serious commitment from government to get the private sector actors motivated by providing incentives while promoting entrepreneurship.
The education needed in development and promotion of entrepreneurship is not what classroom schooling provides. That is done through achievement motivation and the enterprising drive of goal-oriented individuals in society.
An enterprising population does not spring from wider space. It grows out of a desire. Social interplay creates the platform for creating commercial awareness leading to growth of enterprise culture.
Social learning provides better occasion for motivation of enterprise engagement far beyond what schooling does. Informal education does not require classroom schooling. We all take so much from home before setting eyes on our first school teachers. Enterprise culture stimulates employment creation through entrepreneurship. With government backing the potential for growth of informal sector business can be realised most gainfully.
More money buying weapons and less for education
During planning and budgeting some governments allocate more money in buying arms or paying for maintenance of the security outfit than what’s left on education, health, social welfare and wealth creation put together.
Looking at the amount of public money spent on weapon power, you wonder whose security we are talking about.
Wider society tax payers experience more insecurity in everyday life than the few that are voted as political leaders. All that is cost needing to be justified. Armed robbery and other forms of forceful dispossession that individuals suffer at risk life tends to be out of control.
Dangerously armed individuals walking free is of high risk proportion. It is hard to make sense how possession of lethal weapons extends beyond the power of those voted for protecting collective interest.
Clearly, there is in no justifiable interest keeping entire society under threat of gun violence. Ask for an explanation and those in possession of lethal weapons will call it self-defence. Yes, because the national security outfit is sustained with huge financial government backing, therefore everyone thinks they need personal protection too. Fear of being killed tends to embolden individuals to seek personal protection leading to increased gun possession. Schools can contribute to social education on security. That makes the job of teachers much crucial to social transformation.
Highly motivated teachers will serve instrumental role towards creation of an enlightened population needed for enhancing political awareness and becoming bankable economic resource.
Teachers work harder than they are paid
During political debates in parliament there is more talk about education than commitment to deliver what is required. Salaries of teachers hardly top the agenda. Most talk is about statistics. Everything is reduced to chunks of data.
Such key stakeholders like teachers are routinely talked about and not invited to join the debate. Teachers in every society deserve more than we see them being remunerated.
In public schools, teachers are counted as civil servants. Going by the volume and complexity of their workload, teachers commit more efforts and time than the ordinary civil servants do.
Apart from chalking and talking, teachers spend more time after working hours marking or drawing up lesson plans. Entrusted with children of diverse background and character, teachers deal with each of them in their special needs.
Society owes teachers more than politicians have so far demonstrated. In addition to teachers’ unions, the voice of society in promoting welfare of this instrumental embodiment can be louder. We cannot leave the welfare of teachers being handled without rendering them what is due.
Politics of education is loaded with an agenda of lofty aims needing proper checks to ensure tangible evidence-based impact. Teachers are such tall pillars of society that cannot be dwarfed without consequences. Pay teachers well and give them better incentives to boost their total welfare.
Governance and Politics beyond School Subjects
To confine the study of politics as mere school subject is not enhancing enough. Regarding how politicians are being empowered to decide for each of us everyone in society deserves knowing more and better. When students debate about politics, it is mostly for the nicety of grammar and eloquence. More often they are not thinking of taking politics head on. Out of school or from higher education, every other job becomes target less political occupation.
Just like smaller number of business students at university have ambition to be hired rather than create their own enterprise being self-employed and hire others. Similarly, only few of those who show interest in school or higher education political debates choose to take up full time responsibility as genuinely representative of the people.
Political power is connected to almost everything daily life evolves around. From wealth creation (fundamental to the national economy) health care and maintenance, agriculture, trade. Industry, mobility, education, society, law and order, security among others.
National and personal security cannot be properly maintained without serious commitment on part of the political power players. Security they provide for those representing the people is far beyond what the rest of society have.
Governments consider weapon power as measurement of their might. Individuals in society reflect similar way. The danger is that if you possess an instrument there is propensity to use it. In that scheme of things by spending on weapons, governments invariably prepare for war. Individuals also think of attacking or being attacked by someone else. Reliance on gun power or weapons turned into a generational menace in some countries.
This generation is already too much enslaved by gun power. The next and succeeding generations may want to bank on mindpower for a more progressive and by extension higher advanced economic world order.
Reforms in global education will require preparing society to be more productive without fear of being attacked. Politicians have lot of responsibility coming up with policies that will detox society from this destructive gun power mentality. Until now, the political will to keep society safe is below all expectations.
Gun culture is a challenge for governments the world over. Educating society about politics and economic reality extends beyond what schooling provides. Maybe the next generation will get different education and prefer weapons be replaced by production of what brings more economic advancement. Political rethinking over gun power or weapons is an educational pursuit that cannot be confined in classrooms. Entire society requires to be schooled though not in the classroom concept of teaching without learning.
Political education outside School
The population is not adequately informed about any rationale on what appears as unjustifiable budgetary allocation especially with increased spending on weapons. Taking political education outside the classroom will bear extensive rewards beyond the basic objective of schooling for examination requirements.
With everyone being affected in vast ways, the political discourse is central to our livelihood by occasion of diverse yet conflicting interests. Political activism is more about awareness creation than partisan interest drive. Along the journey, there appears to be more passengers than drivers. In their total, political drivers and passengers have more excess baggage shared among themselves. Advancing the agenda calls for an inclusive engagement of those long left out in the dark. To assume that only flag bearers care more than the marginalised compact majority can be considered as alienation.
Bottom line and truth of the whole matter holds that politics has deep rooted economic life line which cannot be taken for granted without consequences. Not to join the debate means the rest will continue talking about you and their decision becomes all binding social contract affecting everyone with far reaching economic implications needing great consideration. Failing to decide is by extension a decision of its own. The choice is yours.