|Wednesday, 20 August 2003|
Educare - How near or far from it are we?
by Neetha S. Ratnapala
"Change does not necessarily assure progress,
We all know at least superficially what education is all about. It is learning and mastering the art of reading and writing, plus gathering know-how on different issues and themes. Quite often literacy and education are taken together or mixed up or treated as a part of the whole. Truly speaking education means much more, and it is a life long process. It needs mending, adding, re-affirming, evaluating and progressing.
Elaborating on the role of care so many dimensions could be mentioned. Personal care, health care, Medi care, care of the sick, of the desolate, of the forsaken, of rendered helpless, of infants, of orphans, or the elderly, of the needy of animals, even skin care and hair care and many more.
What then is EDUCARE? This is in my view a concept of old, given a new interpretation. This word appears new to all of us. As the need for such social redress increases the demand for fresh thinking and expression of concern becomes a yearning. So EDUCARE may appeal to you as providing a fresh beginning to social lapses.
Care there was in ancient social groups. In primitive societies man lived not alone but in groups, with a leader, an elders Council and women and siblings were protected from effects of weather enemies and one could say even hunger. If misfortune or disaster struck them the whole group was affected.
Education is the yardstick to measure one's progress and achievement in academic performances.
When translated means, once Education is safely deposited, no thief can take it away or rob." Everything else can be robbed or taken away by thieves but not mastery of the Arts. Education is measured as wealth but wealth that cannot be robbed.
"Oh you lazy boys
"If a man empties his purse into his head, no man can take it away from him.
An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest." - Benjamin Franklyn.
Eating tasteless food, wearing torn and worn clothes go forward and clasp the torch of learning with yearning.
Thus have parents, statesmen and elders all patronized the art of learning. As civilization progressed and people came out from the darkness of ignorance to bear the torch of learning.. So was established a concern for educating the young. This had its benefits in our own medieval and modern societies. Even the royal princes and children of courtiers studied under a reputed and accepted Guru in the Court or in the Taxila, till they came of age to pursue their vocations in life.
The remarkable difference between then and now was the training the royalty and siblings of the courtiers received as one dedicated to public life and of others as ordinary laymen. Women did not pursue learning as today. They were more tied to their homes and directed towards looking after the family and serving the family.
As our country's administration changed and moved towards Colonial rule and then gained independence, education too underwent changes, pressure, restrictions and hardship. There were tides and waves, sometimes torrents and storms. We are responsible once again for our own system of education - FREE in the sense that the majority have a right to education, and education is non-fee levying.
Private and semi-private institutions stand side by side with the state schools and recently were added the 'International' schools which are fee levying and some even affiliated to foreign educational institutes of higher learning. We keep boasting of a 90% + literacy rate and free education. But should we stop to stand and stare?
Like Napolean who was born out of a revolution, most of us and our younger generations were born of this education set up. Of course there is this dissimilarity that sometime the older generations passed through some sort of educare, as education was imparted by scholars who were loyal to their schools and were a part of that school tradition, they represented. Slowly but steadily this spirit withered as teachers became the victims of political pressure not only because of the nature of their own appointments but also because of the manner in which a certain percentage of the intake of students were administered.
There was also the 'Transfer' element in the teacher service which distanced them from the student community.
The concern for the student as an individual, gradually disappeared. In the good old days in school took pride in moulding an all-round personality over putting out a student armed with only paper certificate.
Where are we now from then? Are we only paying lip service to the real meaning of education. It's no wonder some observers and researchers emphasise on the CARING aspect of education. Caring is essential in education. For with education is entwined the maturing of the minds, the growth of the physique, through health education, and the opening up of vistas to new knowledge, attitudes and cognitive activity.
Just as mother nature makes a mother out of a woman so does education make a scholar/(teacher) out of a human being.
But are all mothers, mothers in the real sense? A mother is not worthy of motherhood unless she looks after her young with love and care. What then can we say of education sans concern and care of the human mind.
The answer to so many social ills, evils and erosion of values stem from the weakening or the loosening of this TENDER CARE, which has to be an essential ingredient of the education process. Imparting knowledge is only one aspect of education as is child bearing. But this process needs careful handling. This is where EDUCARE comes into play.
Caring is a soothing word. Caring for an individual means looking after with affection, with dedication, with sacrifice the person or individual one wishes to look after, raise and bring forth fruit someday.
This new concept or revival in thinking on the care for our young, blossoming generations was also echoed recently by Dato (Sir) Jega - Jegatheesan, central youth coordinator International Sathya Sai Organisation - Malaysia at the Inter Religious Symposium held in Colombo recently. As a responsible person from our part of the world - namely Asia, its time we gave thought to this aspect of our education.
Care in educating, caring for their needs, care about any signs of resistance or bullying, caring in moulding their character, but leaving space for individual personality development, encouraging them in positive thinking, building confidence, caring to help cope with stress or moments of anxiety, caring when they are physically unit, caring when they are lonely or missing their loved ones. This is all a part of the whole picture. Gestalt's Theory is well applicable here.
There is a growing desire to look at the entire picture, all aspects of the growing individual throughout his/her school career. Once the groundwork is laid to the bringing up of the young in dignity, with trust and care, it won't be surprising to see the results of the labour. There'll be no situation of love's Labour lost.
Produced by Lake House