Development is usually stinted only to people’s economic welfare, but it is a broad term and includes the social weal of the concerned people and their economic progress. In other words, big dams, tall buildings, macadamized roads, magnificent plazas, and fashionable clothes are not the only indicators of a developed nation, but the term development includes other social aspects also along with these economic indicators.
Indian nobel laureate Amartya Sen in his book ‘Development as Freedom‘, indicates that freedom of expression, freedom of thought and freedom of choice are essential for the development of a nation. So the nation’s material resources are not the only indicators of its development, but we must consider whether the people have freedom of expression, freedom of thought, and freedom of choice.
Education and development are two interrelated and inseparable terms. The education system of a country is closely linked to its level of development. The sustainable development of a country in which economic and social aspects are included is linked to such an education system in which natural sciences, social sciences and humanities are given equal preference. The dream of sustainable development can’t be fulfilled by giving importance only to the natural sciences or social sciences.
When we talk about the development of a nation, it does not mean accidental or momentary development, which doesn’t last for a long period of time or which will be at the cost of our future generation rather, we mean sustainable development. According to the World Commission on Environment and Development, sustainable development is defined as the development that meets the needs of the present generation without compromising future generations’ ability to meet their needs.
As such, the presumption of sustainable development is impossible without an educated society. It is education that familiarizes us with different concepts and ideologies which pave the way for sustainable development. It makes an individual creative and useful and enables him to find creative solutions for the challenges faced by humanity in the present times.
A question strikes our mind that what kind of education should be, which could help achieve the goal of sustainable development? It is evident that just increasing the percentage of literacy rate can’t fulfil this dream. Rather a good and high standard of an education system can play a critical role in the economic and social development of a nation.
When we have an overview of the education system in our schools and colleges, we find that it has not risen above the level of transferring information. Famous educationist Paulo Freire has termed such type of education as the ‘Banking Concept of Education’ where the students become silent listeners in the classrooms. The teacher transfers the information to students, and they store it safely in their minds to recall it in the examination hall to get good grades.
Such type of teaching-learning process doesn’t develop the cognitive, creative and observational capabilities of students. Rather, it makes them robots without critical thinking and creative potentialities. The comprehensive concept of education includes the accretion and modification of knowledge, proficiency and attitude.
The main aim of education which connects it with development is that it should embolden and nourish the critical thinking and creative potentialities and amenabilities of the students, but unfortunately, such type of education system is hardly found in our society. Education should make students’ minds efficient enough to comprehend the learned knowledge and apply it to solve the new problems and challenges faced by humanity. It should help them to raise their voice against the outdated rituals and traditional taboos of society.
We need to ponder all those processes that can mutually bring changes in our education system to make it better and concatenate it with sustainable development. It includes a proper allotment of funds to the educational sector, improvement of basic infrastructure, versatility in the curriculum in accordance with the needs of modern society, modern teaching techniques and many more.
All these processes are essential for improving the standard of our education. Along with all these things, a teacher has a pivotal role in improving our society’s education system, so teachers should be provided with modern teaching training and techniques. If our society covets an efficient community of teachers, they should be provided with the opportunities of economic benefits, social recognition and reputation and professional promotions.
Teacher education is a must for the professional development of teachers. Teacher training institutions should be provided with sophisticated and modern teaching aids and instruments to train teachers for the revival of the traditional education system of our society. It is the need of the hour to revive and reconstruct the teacher training system to make teachers proficient in the teaching process.
An interdisciplinary approach should be adopted to utilize other subjects to learn and understand some critical issues and concepts. A close and interdependent link should be established between theoretical and practical aspects of learning instead of only focusing on the theoretical part. A teacher should use formal and informal teaching methods to bring innovation in himself and attain mastery in the field of teaching. Only a proficient and skilful teacher can provide comprehensive education to their students, vouchsafe a society for holistic and sustainable development.
(The author is a columnist and teaches Geography at GDC, Kulgam. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)