Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Education of the Future - Back to Divine Education: Deconstructing Industrial Revolution

We all know that education defines the success of a country. Its magical attraction can only be found through the wisdom of the people who graduate from it. Education leaves its footprints through the formation of every son and daughter of the nation. Therefore it is imperative to secure the perimeter of education, be it the informal, non-formal, or formal. Sadly, the noble course of education has been disrupted by the great success of industrial revolution. Since the dawn of industrial revolution in the 18th century, education has gone downhill. Despite all the enhancement of technology and the advancement of knowledge like never before since then, education is no longer as noble as it was before. Industrial revolution changed holistic education into partial education. Thence education has become more partial than ever, leaving learners with partial knowledge like never before.

In the formal education setting, all educational goals have been for the gaining of academic knowledge and skills needed to operate machineries. Schooling has been transformed from producing the greatest minds into producing machine operators. The booming of industry forces people to abandon the pursuit of character education. What is more important is the mastery of the partial knowledge that drives the economy. The demand of the society is for schools to produce machine operators fast. The industry is desperately in need of machine operators in order to cope with the market demand while at the same time people are desperate to graduate faster in order to gain economic security through securing a job in the industry. The more sophisticated the knowledge of the machine, the higher the pay. Thus schools no longer produce the philosopher king and the wise, like what Plato and Confucius had in mind, but instead schools can only produce the memorizer and the smart. The noble purpose of human heart no longer drives formal education, but the machine does.

In the informal education setting, parents no longer have time to educate their children the values of life. Soon the degradation of understanding of the value of informal education has contributed greatly to the moral degradation of the next generation. Since parents work very hard day and night in order to survive economically, children are left without the wisdom of the parents. Parents pay too much attention to the fulfillment of the physical needs, and thus the family value has shifted from character orientation to the economy orientation. Parents feel more obligated to fill the stomach with food rather than filling in the mind of their children with good knowledge. The industrial era has brought the biggest gap to the family in the history of mankind. Industrial revolution starts the greatest family brokenness by sharpening the gap between the parents and children.
When the failure of informal education weds the transformation of the formal education, we reap a dysfunctional generation. Today we ask the question why in the most advanced era where we have the smartest people yet we fail to establish good in almost every aspect of life. The never ending war in many parts of the world, the widespread of AIDS through immorality, the corruption of many governments in the world, the natural disaster caused by human negligence, the food scarcity due to the contaminated resources and the wasting of it in the midst of the most advanced science and abundant production of food, and many other things that put human race in the brink of major disasters. Today we must reconsider and reflect how much damage industrial revolution has contributed in our world. If we continue to endorse such way of life, then soon we won’t have anymore good left in the hearts of man. My greatest concern is when I see people pursue education only for the sake of financial security. The saddest thing is when all eyes turn to formal education for the character education while at the same time formal education can only do so much for the purpose of equipping learners to be ready to work in the industry. Parallel to it is the neglect of family education that leaves children to be raised valueless. The responsibility of parents to instill values in the children’s hearts has been long abandoned. The school now is charged to put values on the curriculum menu with its severely limited capacity. What good may come from such a terrible rendition?

The thing is, the more successful we are at forming the next generation to embrace partial knowledge the further we are from our dignity as humans. This calls for holistic education. And with holistic education, I mean an education that puts a solid foundation of life into the hearts and minds of man. To make the foundation solid, undeniably we need to embrace faith-based education. Humans are closer to God than animals. Science argues that we are closer to animals and that there is no God. This is where I think science is wrong. There is no nobility in animals like what we may see in man. If we think of the best human, then deep down in our heart we won’t be able to put humans and animals in the same category, for we far surpass all animals. There is no comparison. We are in a different league altogether. There is no explanation in science as to why humans are extremely far superior than animals. The explanation can only be found when we consider religion. God himself told us that we are created with the dignity of the divine. We are called his image, his children. Again, if we look at the best of humans, we can only say that we are divine. I honestly can never say anything divine in animals. If we ponder this carefully, then our education cannot run from teaching who God is. The famous question by Immanuel Kant: Who is man? precisely points to what I call as the divine education.

Faith-based education is truly the way to go. Without knowing who we are and who our creator is, we will only learn to destroy ourselves and the lives of our children. But when we come back to the very dignity that God has put within each one of us, we can do noble things. Only by knowing our origin in God we can salvage the destruction that industrial revolution has set for more than 200 years. Education can no longer follow the pattern of industrial revolution. Industry should never again drive education, but instead divine education should drive industry. Faith-based education should direct the course of life, including economy and industrial supply and demand. The kind of education that acknowledges God and that gets us back on our feet as God’s children is the necessary education in our time. This is the time we rise as God’s children and act accordingly. This is the time we take over education from machine. This is our time to regain our dignity that has been degraded for so long by the machine world. Through divine education we can retake our life and put values once again in the hearts of our children. Only then we have hope. Only then we may hope for the better future. This is the education of the future: the divine education.

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