Humanising Human

As education means to nourish (Gingell & Winch, 2008), one question comes into my mind: Who does it nourish? The players in education are people, human beings. And human beings, at least in my opinion, should be treated as human. However, as education nowadays is seen as a tool in globalised world – mostly seen from the economic point of view (Ball, 2006), people are regarded to be economic-, instead of human-being in education. Look at the statements mentioned by government officials, such as Indonesian vice president, Boediono (2012) who wrote that the purpose of education is to produce people who are competent in the workplace so that the national income can be increased.

In order to meet the demand from the government as a response of globalisation in economic sense, schools as the most common educational institution act as human factories. In a movie called Waiting for Superman (2010), I saw a clear description of students, categorised and directed towards different path of education in order to meet the workforce and business demand based on their test scores and intelligence. It seems like students, human beings, are treated as objects that can be controlled and moved around.

In another explanation, Freire (2008) proposed the concept of banking education which treats students as containers of knowledge. Education in this perspective seems to act as bank that deposits knowledge. How weird is that? Education which supposed to be controlled by human in general acts as if it is human and students – the human beings – are treated as if they are some kind of jars – non living things. Of course education in reality is controlled by human but only those who have power but nonetheless those people hide behind the ‘innocence’ of education. Then again, one can conclude from this point of view that education is used by people in power to oppress young people as what Freire (1996) suggested. It is a tool for the government to oppress citizens in order to achieve better economic performance which again benefits certain groups of people.

In my opinion, education should be used to humanise human. Education can be used as a tool to liberate people from globalised world’s ‘slavery’ to be fully capable human beings. Students, young people, or people in general should be the owner of globalised world, not the workers in it. I believe that it is the ideal condition as it is explained in the Koran that humans are the ones who inherit the world. The word inherit contains a sense of ownership, control, and power over the object. In order to do this – humanising human – Freire (1973) suggested that education should make people aware that they have the power to face challenges of the world.

One can see a sense of human empowerment in the process of humanising human. People need not to be passive which dehumanising, the lowest form of defence mechanism believed in critical psychology. Instead, they need to be reflective, a restless act to pursue knowledge through invention (Freire, 1973) so that they can act appropriately. Education should be able to empower people or students maybe, and make them capable of being truly humans in the era of globalisation now. Education need to humanise human if not re-humanise human at this point.

May 28, 2013

What Education Means to Me

Every person may have different understanding about education. Some people define education as schooling; some others relate education to learning activities. In my opinion, education is a lifelong, social context related process which involves getting information from environment and reflecting obtained information within self. It enables one to survive and it is important to make one’s life more valuable and beneficial for others.

Education is not limited to particular time duration. Human is born with capable mind which can be used for a life time. It is not limited to school, because education can be taken everywhere. It is a process because education should persist and gradually change one’s skill, ability, or behaviour. Education is always related to social context because the level of importance of skills or abilities differs in every society. For example, in a fisherman village, a child learns how to fish in early year. He may not attend special course about fishing, but practically helping his father educates him to be a fisherman. His experience continues to make him an expert and in implicit way it educates him to be a better fisherman. Fishing skill may be important in a fisherman village but in a modern city it might be placed in the bottom of education priority.

Education involves two things. The first one is getting information. Human senses enable human to receive stimulus. Therefore it is human nature to be able to receive information from external world. Inputs received by senses then processed in human brain and eventually the information can be used in any way to help human live. Education also involves personal reflection. What is obtained from surroundings will be interpreted in a specific personal way. One can reflect and learn through one’s own perception. This will cause education unique, different for everybody even though the education received is similar.

Education enables human to survive. Obtained skills and abilities from education will definitely help one to not only survive but also make the quality of one’s life better. Education is a crucial thing in human’s life because it is a mean to make one’s life more valuable and to enable human to help each other. By education, an average fisherman can be a better fisherman, gives a better life for his family. In addition, the fisherman can also help other people by providing more fish, opening job opportunities, or even educating other fisherman.

My version of the meaning of education involves three principles. It is a lifelong, social context related process. There are two activities in education, which are receiving information and processing the information by reflecting it within self. The aim of education is to make human survive, to enhance the quality of human’s life, and to enable human gives benefit for others.

Oct 07, 2012