Education and Values Essay

What is education? Is it just knowledge in basic skills, academics, and citizenship… or is it something else? In a broad sense, education is a lifelong process which includes all the experiences we have obtained from formal and informal agencies. Yet, the message of education today is manipulated by so-called “star tutors. ” No longer is education stressed on developing students’ inner potentials, on benefiting the state, and creating an enlightened, just, democratic society. The aims of education have been forgotten as our minds have been adjusted to the concept of getting high marks.

Moreover, education has been affected by other factors including the government, society, and the economy. In this essay, I will argue that education cannot be immune from political, social, philosophical, and economic factors with reference of the movie Aarkshan. Social and Political Throughout history, India has always been known as a country with a prominent caste system . Whatever caste a person was born into, they were stuck with it till the end of their life; there was practically no social mobility (rare cases) and no social interaction among different castes.

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To make matters worse, the system was reinforced with British colonialism in the 17th century. Fortunately, in modern India, a person would not normally know the caste of another person until you’ve openly asked about the status of that person such as the interview of Deepak Kumar . In the opening scene of the movie, Deepak Kumar is interviewed by the school board. What is unusual about the interview was that the whole interview focused on Deepak’s family background and his status in which interviews are not supposed to do.

They did not ask him why he was suitable for that job or what subject he would like to teach. This correlates with the idea of social inequality and the conflict theories that we have learned in Lecture 3 . The admission system was not based on meritocracy since the board of education did not believe he was capable of teaching manners, etiquette, and communication skills. The scene described above shows that education continues to be affected by social status and castes. As teachers, we should be reminded that “A person’s intelligence and performance don’t depend on their background (Deepak). In addition, education is affected by political factors such as the reservation system in India. The government created the reservation system in hope of narrowing the gap between the affluent and the impoverished. Yet, this system aggravated the caste system of India as the middle class felt perturbed by the development. “If they do our work, we’ll have to do what they were doing. We’ll have to leave our studies and take up shoe-polishing now” (40:00). Since this reservation was only based on caste and not on income, it gave a “headache” to those low income people who were not of lower caste.

Because of the reservation system, students who achieve higher grades than a lower caste system may not get into a university of their choice such as the case of the student in Aarakshan (35:23). The student tried to commit suicide because he was not accepted into the Engineering Institute as the reservation system saved spots for the backward castes. As we can see, political factors merging with social factors manipulate the values of education. Philosophical Another factor that undermines education is the effect of shadow education and the competition it creates among students around the world.

First of all, don’t get me wrong, private tutoring is supposed to be helpful for the students, but too much of it is harmful to the student as it takes away time from other subjects, which leads to a decline in overall academic performance (Bray, 35). Yet, the problem isn’t shadow education itself; the problem is how the tutors commercialize education and make it a commodity. Throughout the movie, the audience saw how Singh’s cousin’s “KK Coaching” grew into a well-organized commercialized company that charged the students a significant amount of money.

Personally, I don’t have a problem about charging students for private tutoring, but if the doctrine of education is for the benefit and profit of the teachers – Singh going out to “KK Coaching” while neglecting his school responsibilities – then this is totally irresponsible. The teaching profession is regarded as “professionals” equivalent to the occupations: lawyer, doctor, and engineers. Therefore, teachers cannot go out and advertise their name publicly as it will hurt the professional image of both teachers and education. Teachers are not in private practice. They are in the helping and caring profession, a service profession to help people enhance the quality of their lives . ” As Dr Anand had said, “This education system which thrives under capitation and private tutoring will destroy everything . ” And this is exactly true if the government doesn’t do anything about it. A similar case can be found in Hong Kong; practically everywhere a person goes – on a public bus, near a mall, along the sidewalk – they will find advertisements of “star” tutors.

They dress up in the latest fashion and style and drive some really luxurious cars in order to attract and appeal to today’s adolescents. Yet, because of them the values of education are influenced negatively. Education is not a business! It is unlike what the Minister of Education in Aarakshan said, “There’s no business like education! Paid service – without guarantee. ” All of these tutors focus mainly on one thing: trying to help the students achieve an “A” on their next tests and college-bound exams.

It is practically inevitable for students not to go to these tutors as the educational system is so based on tests and exams. As Kelly Mok , a private tutor said, “They don’t teach you how to get an A; they teach you everything, but they simply don’t tell you “that is what you need because that is going to be on the exam. ” At this point, we should ask ourselves what are the aims of education. Is education just based on the tests and exams that students take like the society of India and Hong Kong?

What do curriculum designers hope to or want to achieve? As future teachers, we should know that in the workforce, you cannot judge a student out of an exam since it does not give an accurate picture of how well the student is as a learner or as someone who can perform well throughout life (Sarah Fuhrman ). Grades and percentages cannot be the deciding factor of a student’s career just like the case of Poorbi – Poorbi missed the requirement mark to become a medical student by one mark and her father did not give her the “1 grace mark” she desired.

Furthermore, education cannot be just memorizing facts and concepts (??? or ???). There is simply no joy and happiness in doing that. As Noddings stated in our readings, “Happiness should be included as an aim of education. ” This exactly correlates with the scene where Shambhu the stable owner says to Dr. Anand, “I’ve never seen my Muniya actually laugh while studying. ” Thus, happiness is an aim of education. But happiness is not the only aim of education, as there are various educational aims relating to student development, society, economics, and culture.

This includes the two, three, four fold distinction from the categorization of educational aims that we have learned in class. Examples from the three fold distinction of education include: preparing students for their social role in society, developing students as individuals and giving people knowledge of their culture . Until the government, teachers and parents recognize these ideals, philosophical factors will continue to affect education. Economic Another factor that education cannot be immune to is economic influence.

Every student is offered free formal education, but not everyone is able to afford supplementary private education. It is self-evident that wealthy families are going to have better quality and greater quantities of tutoring and that some families can’t even afford the least expensive forms of tutoring because of their low incomes or simply because they don’t have access to the types of tutoring offered in urban areas. Therefore, this kind of economic inequality already determines the occupations among the different social classes.

Furthermore, those who cannot bear the costs of private tuition drop out from school such as the case of Delhi, India. A study from Chugh (2011) of school dropouts in the slums of Delhi, India, found that 25. 9% of the respondents expressed inability to bear the costs of private tutoring: “In the opinion of parents as well as students, attending school without simultaneously availing private tuition does not yield any positive results… [When] students felt their family could not afford private tuition, they simply withdrew from school” (45).

Since paying private tuition is the only way to achieve positive results, private tutoring became a factor that even excludes students from fee-free tutoring. This is why Dr. Anand set up a separate place for tutoring in his backyard for students who don’t have the luxury to pay for a private tutor. Having abundance in wealth not only allows the student to afford a higher quality and greater quantity of private tutoring, it also grants the student to buy their way into college and their future careers.

For instance, the “no good” nephew of the minister of education in Aarakshan finally passed his exam, but his scores are too poor to be accepted into STM. What did his mother say? “Please use your clout. We will pay any amount. ” This situation is also shown a few minutes later in the movie when Aniruddha talks on the phone with the Secretary of the Government saying, “You’ve made millions as a Secretary of the government. Time to put it to use. You can buy a seat in any college for your daughter. ” As we can see, money can bribe a place in a university for a student, besides the authority and status of the parents.

This is why Principal Anand did not accept the nephew of the minister of education since he had more than enough money to hire the best teachers, facilities, and coaching classes to achieve a better score than 52. 07%. This score is simply unacceptable compared with the scores of the “underprivileged” who studied “under very difficult circumstances” and they do not deserve to get a reservation spot in STM. Although there may be people (such as Anand) who promote the concept of meritocracy and conflict theories, wealth and affluence still plays a big part in manipulating education.

In conclusion, education cannot be immune to the political, social, philosophical, and economic factors since they shape the values of education through the reservation system, discrimination, by changing the aims of education, and through shadow education. Although education is affected by that many factors, we can continue to work toward shifting the education and aims of education toward the student’s development, social and economic efficiency, academic rationalism, and social reconstruction. Whether or not we can achieve that goal will depend on the future generation of teachers.

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