Education is a very important pillar in the world and without education, there is no future and no humanity. However, education is not the only component that can move a nation toward progress. I shall through this essay debate why education alone cannot move a nation. According to the book The Future of Education and Skills 2030 (2018) launched by the Organization for Economic Co-operation the aim of education is to equip learners with agency and a sense of purpose, and the competencies they need to bring about contribute to change. But the education provided is kind of static through the banking concept and Paulo Freire (2007) stated that we need to move education from the stage of the banking concept to the problem-posing stage to make a difference. In this process, there will be the involvement of society at large along with teachers and politicians. Education needs all these forces to be reinforced to give the real aim of education which is humanization and liberation of society in order to practice real freedom. Moreover, education should become a tool to navigate through the uncertainties in society by arousing skills of curiosity, imagination, resilience, and self-regulation. The nation needs to be open to new ideas, perspectives, and values and will need to learn to cope with failure and rejection to be able to move forward in the face of adversity. Also, education should equip learners with a sense of purpose and competencies to shape the world to live in.
Education is often considered what is taught within the four walls of the classroom. However, education has no boundaries that limit learning to make a difference in the world. This is because learning only academically taught subjects will make a person knowledgeable which is not enough to move a little finger in the world. As Paulo Freire (2007, 38) stated “Education is not a miraculous process capable by itself of effecting the changes necessary to move a nation”. This statement is very much true if we consider the type of education dispensed in schools around the world. When we talk of education, we often make reference to acquiring knowledge in an academic setting to become a “highly qualified” person in society. However, being knowledgeable is good but it is important to have the required skills and tools in order to make a difference, to shape the world for oneself and for others. We are now living in a world where we are facing unprecedented challenges in terms of social, economic, and environmental which are driven by the fast pace of globalization and technological developments. At the same time, those forces are providing us with myriad new opportunities for human advancement. Education alone will certainly not be able to get the nation on the move as we cannot predict the future but instead, we need to be open and be ready for the challenges. This is why the required skills and tools are not limited to education to make a difference.
Nowadays, the traditional education provided in schools to students is much more the parrot-type education which Paulo Freire (2007) referred to as the banking concept. The banking concept as Paulo Freire (1968) explained in his book “Pedagogy of the Oppressed” is a method of teaching and learning where the students simply store the information relayed to them by the teacher. In other words, they are expected to memorize important facts accurately as what they have been taught from a learned individual. In such a traditional educational system, the learning takes place within the four walls of a structured classroom where there is no scope for understanding and critical thinking in students and this reinforces oppression. There is no two-way traffic between students and teachers in the classroom, that is there is no participation by students but only absorption of information without any kind of understanding. For example, if we are teaching social studies, most of the time it is the text that is explained to students. The students just grasp the important notes for examination purposes and there is the application of knowledge outside the classroom. In such an approach, the educational system is considered to be an oppressed one because students are not made to think out of the box, that is utilizing the knowledge in society. This results in the world we are living in today which is static and remained unchanged because for years and years we have been reproducing the same type of learning to make the students fit in society. The nation has been only the reproduction of the same educational outcome day after day. Students are not allowed to develop skills to make them critical thinkers to be able to promote changes in society to move the nation toward a new world where people are more humanized. But rather, the students are faced with an oppressed educational system and it has become like a routine even for teachers as they teach the same facts and figures in the same way daily. They are imprisoned in a system for decades. Even Paulo Freire, (1970) argued that the “banking” concept has become an instrument of oppression creating incomplete human beings and no attempts are made to make them fully human. He further argued that the banking concept is making humans who do not question or want to change the system. Rather banking education is impacting in such a way that other institutions which are important like welfare for the society also are becoming reproduced institutions. Thus, the nation is becoming static because people become “automatons.”
Moving a nation requires a lot of external forces apart from education. As Paulo Freire (2007) stated the educational system needs to be changed from the “banking concept” to the “culture circle concept” in order to touch the nation to be able to get the nation to move. The concept proposed by Paulo Freire (1968) in his book “Pedagogy of the oppressed” comprises four steps to revolutionize the educational system in order to get the nation on move. One of the steps is the “problem-posing concept” which is rather a generative complex one but executable. Using this concept in our educational system will allow critical reflection by human beings of different origins and backgrounds and thus seeking complete independence and objectivity thereby looking for solutions to major problems which will involve the development of education in changing the nation and later on the world. This is because moving a nation is challenging there are many problems that we need to consider which are very challenging. These challenges include a variety of cultures, political options, and ideas that need effective and appropriate consideration in order to get a nation to move. It is only after understanding these challenges that solutions can be looked for and actions can be taken to solve them. According to Paulo Freire (1970), human beings need to evolve from the banking concept and view education as a tool of liberation. It is with this aim that the problem-posing concept needs to be applied. People need to feel free and be able to think outside of their box. We need to motivate through education to start seeing education through another lens where they feel included rather than being an object in class, they feel appreciated and learn to accept differences within the classroom to be able to bring them out in society. They should become human beings who can formulate their ideas and express them in any kind of environment. They should not be like those “highly qualified” who after getting certificates one after the other just to show off academics qualification and tend to forget how to disagree, listen, or have not learned how to move forward together because they were not rightly taught how to communicate. Therefore, the right way to communicate is important because when we talk about moving a nation there may be conflicts and differences among people and thus proper communication through dialogue is important. Even doctor Nancy Dome (Online source) stated in a magazine where she talked of Epoch education, that one must have open channels of communication where people have no fear to retaliate against power or oppressive forces to bring changes and inclusion in diversity.
Communication is indeed a good way to share ideas and learn from others this can happen at a small scale at the school level. Education must evolve from one-way traffic, that is, the teacher-student relationship where there was no dialogue to a more open atmosphere. Teachers must become like politicians and so start bringing about the political aspect of education in class. Even, Paulo Freire (1968) stated education must be a combination of action with serious reflection. This can only be done when teachers start to bring in dominant interests and ideologies in the classroom for discussion with possible societal problems that need to be solved. In doing so, teachers are expected to make students see the reality of society. Further to that, a small committee with different stakeholders can be held at the school level where students are invited to learn and also share their views with people from outside the school environment. By doing so, education will become a platform to bring about transformation. At the same time, students who were initially enclosed in the four walls of the classroom will be involved in the issues of the society such as the economic aspects of the country and other issues which are pertinent to the nation. This will help to develop the critical consciousness of students and make them more open to social transformation. Moreover as Ellen Galinsky (Online source) in her book “Mind in the Making” the development of critical thinking will arouse curiosity in the brain of the child where the latter will not only grasp the knowledge but rather analyze and be able to make judgments. At that time the child will require to work on his imagination and become more inquisitive. The dialogue will thus enhance communication and education will break the barrier of being restricted and merging in society. Then the way society was perceived as being oppressed will evolve as there will be new aims, beliefs, aspirations, and sharing of knowledge. Even Paulo Freire (1970) stated that the aim of education must be replaced by posing problems to human beings in the world that will eventually aim to liberate human beings from the oppressed educational system. Studies have shown that poorly developed communication skills right from childhood to adulthood lead to rejection and isolation in society (Botting, N. and Conti-Ramsden, G. (2000); Clegg, J., Hollis, C. and Rutter, M. (1999). Such rejection and isolation will maintain the status of oppression within the community. Thus, using the concept of communication in education will allow dialogue and at the same time force people to talk even if they are having emotional difficulty to express they should be motivated through education. Communication will eventually lead to planning to find solutions to real problematic situations to move the nation by empowering them with emotional and intellectual dispositions.
Liberating human beings towards a more democratic education is indeed very important. This is because in the actual world we still find the reproduction of issues like race, inequality, gender, and power among societies. Paulo Freire (1970) argued that the society we are living in is suppressed by those in power who try to manipulate those who are powerless making them vulnerable. Education alone will not be able to eradicate this indifference within the community because it was and is still here as a result of the “banking concept” which has been instilled in nearly all aspects of the nation. This is why the theory developed by Paulo Freire (1970) about the pedagogy of “conscientization” comes into play. His idea was to increase the level of literacy among those in our society. This is because if we have a nation that does not know how to read or write, it is difficult to bring about change not only in a country but around the globe. In Australia, (Tania Canas, 2013) for example, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, stated that with asylum seekers there is still the inhumane treatment of people based on race, color, and religion, (UN rights chief slams “racist” Australia, 2011). Such treatment shows how oppression is still a reality and therefore social transformation is a must. Therefore, the conscientization of the people will bring about a notion of “self” through dire reflection and orientation. People will be able to acknowledge the oppressive powers and then there will be the development of a critical awareness of the social reality through required action and reflection. Further to that, people will be made to face the reality than live with the social myth which has been dominant so far. This concept can be applied again within a small group of the community by uncovering the real problems and needs of our society. Moreover, conscientization will break the vacuum that teachers were once teaching within the four walls of the classroom and give education another dimension through the recognition of education as a political aspect. Human beings will be stripped from the myths they have been living so far. Moving the nation will require that those who felt powerless as a result of certain social, economic, or environmental issues be liberated from the oppressed mindset which had been reproduced so far to see the reality and be daring enough to face and find plausible solutions which do not reproduce what is already there.
It is indeed the role of educators to start the change within themselves to get the nation to move. Teachers should be active to bring in the creativity within the educational curriculum through the act of conscientization. We must not forget that educators are among those stakeholders who can touch the nation by educating the child. Therefore, providing the right education by involving issues of society, political aspects, and social and environmental issues will help to break the academic focus to a certain level. This is because it will allow students to be faced with the actual issues rather than just focusing on academics and focusing on getting a well-paid job where the reproduction of old ideologies will still prevail. It is therefore through concrete conscientization that educating the nation will revolutionize the status of education from being static to being active with serious reflections. Conscientization will need to be reinforced through actions where people can share their daily issues and start from a small group and move toward the nation. The aim of this theory is to break the reproduction banking concept in our institutions which is still causing much harm to the nation when considering issues like ethnicity and racial discrimination still present in European countries which were published recently in an article by Alena Bieling (2021, Online Source). Education alone by sitting in a classroom cannot bring about a change in mindset it is thus important for educators to be involved and also become an agent of politics to break apart the reproduction of dominant interests and ideologies because human beings need to be set free from these ideologies that have blocked the nation from moving. Then only, then will be able to confront those in power for a change in society for future generations to prevent the continuity of all sorts of inequalities and injustice in the world.
The act of conscientization to promote the concept of Paulo Freire (1970) which is problem-posing to move education from the banking concept to making education more active will not be complete if the whole nation is not conscientious. We cannot ignore the fact that the world, we are living in still has a very low rate of literacy growth. According to statistics from World Atlas data (Online Source), the literacy rate of adults aged 15 in 2020 was 86.7%. This percentage represents an annual increase of 0.36% from 2001. We can eventually deduce that to move the nation, education needs to take another course on the path to educating the nation through educators. This is where we come to the theory of Paulo Freire (1970) which is codification. Through this concept, educators will be able to bring the whole nation to start to ponder over issues relevant to their society that are inhibiting progress. Codification will involve giving a person a big picture of a real situation and then there will be de-codification where people will start breaking the big picture in bits to understand and reflect upon the given picture. This methodology will bring grouped ideas, understanding, and other aspects that will lead to liberating human beings. The use of the big picture in terms of a theme in particular in the form of a concrete representation will be used to pass on an important message to the nation to bring about change from static to becoming active. For example, when educators use pictorial illustration to transform the banking concept and promote understanding among the students, they are touching those who have a certain level of disability of understanding. In doing so, the educator is eliminating rejection and isolation in the classroom. This act should be promoted in society in order to prevent discrimination against the disabled. Further to that, the thoughts of people will change to be more open to accepting changes.