Transcript of "Wphr.education of power and power of education new questions"
Education’s Right of Freedom
The Power of Education and The Education of Power
By: Bayan Shadaideh
A Call for New Questions to Have New Answers!
“And today, we face a global economic crisis whose full repercussions have yet to be felt. At the
very least, it will throw us off course in a number of key areas, particularly in the developing
countries. At worst, it could prevent us from keeping our promises, plunging millions more
into poverty and posing a risk of social and political unrest. That is an outcome we must avoid
at all costs.”
Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General, United Nations
Foreword Message: The Millennium Development Goals Report
Though this might seem extremely alarming, it is as well a great opportunity!
The Millennium Development Goals were set to reduce the proportion of people living on
less than $1 a day to half the 1990 level by 2015, that is to say from 28.3% of all people in
low and middle-income economies to 14.2%.
"We are on the brink of breaking an important promise made by governments in 2000 - the
promise of Education for All by 2015," said Kevin Watkins.
Whether we are not able to achieve these targets, to what degree, why, or what could we do
to achieve the targets all seem like questions asserting the fact that we should get out of
this box that we created and start questioning the box itself.
After all, this could be a great window of light, and a wake-up call for us to re-visit the
purpose of education, and then consequently assess the weights, the measurement tools
and the systems’ effectiveness that we have created for it, instead of being infinitely lost in
the statistics that might not be the answers we want to begin with.
Did education lose its essence amidst the measurement tools, credit systems,
and control of economy?
Are we demanding the same education that became a product tailored to the
demand of economic power?
The World’s Economy had proved that it failed, and still the consequences
are to be borne, would it make sense to keep on asking for access to the same
education that served this economy?
In this article, I will briefly unfold the main points that narrate the elements of these
questions, and open the way for a yet wider horizon for new questions that need to be
We define education for sustainable human development as educational practice that
results in the enhancement of human well-being, conceived in terms of the expansion of
individuals' agency, capabilities and participation in democratic dialogue, both for now and
for future generations.
Education; which initially is to “Bring out the potential within” in reference to the word’s
Latin roots, is the Right to the gateway of
In this context education is the development,
the magical wand that realizes human
potential, the process of enlightening an
individual for discovering and manifesting
their full potential.
We see her as the beautiful warm, caring and
tender mother we all dream of to rescue that
crying child from hunger and poverty. In this
vision, she opens the window for a rainbow to come in with infinite options and freedom.
Our dream therefore, is to find that beautiful woman, and give her all the tools for the
realization of our dream.
Thus, the Power of Education can only be realized when it has the power to serve its own
value. However, is that what education is doing now? Even for those who are highly
Is it realizing the individual’s potential? Or does it have pre-designed sets of potentials that
this individual has to choose from?
Is it wearing a tight fitting jacket to frame itself for the demand of economy (that has
failed!)? Or is it able to elevate and develop the economy with the creative powers it is
unleashing from the power of the individual?
The Education of Power
If Education itself were not free, how
would it be an effective tool for freedom?
Sounds like a rhetoric question? It is!
Individuals have to assert their freedom
against the power of the state, unless they
are taught the way the state wants them to
assert their freedom, and are programmed
in a way that channels their freedom to the
power of the state. This is , am afraid, the
In a question I have posted on the linkedin network asking: “Power For Education Vs
Education For Power: Can Education lose its Power for being a product? Sold as a
Education is one of the most important articles in Human Rights. It is a Right to fight for on
all levels, for the purpose of development, and ultimately to widen the scope of options for all
But is Education actually a development tool? or has it turned into a standardized formula
sold as a product for power and influence? Is it being used as a power manipulation tool?”
I received several insightful answers from which I quote:
“I believe that education has in fact become a quantitative formula that is sold at the
expense of furthering our knowledge. The increasing demand for a higher level of
education has lead to an uprising in the supply of educational systems. These educational
marketplaces are of a far lesser quality in order to keep up the demanded quantity.” -
“Education is done by Educators. Educators do not act in a value free way. It goes without
saying that to be called 'education', wherever it takes place it must be informed by certain
values. There is a dividing line between education and indoctrination, which you touch
base with in your questions. Education, unlike the latter, embraces a commitment to:
•Respect for persons.
•The promotion of well-being.
•Fairness and equality
Quality in education, which you touch base with, can only be commented by: Of course in
educating adults you have organizations, which don't know enough, when they offer their
"education” - Peer
“Education is both an agent for empowerment and for state control. Educational systems
and curricula have been used as political tools since time immemorial.” – Kamala
Foucault comes aggressively to take center stage in this argument for he draws our
attention to the power relations essential to establishing a non-didactic method as more
“true” and “rational”. It is through such analysis constituted in reformulating the
relationship between power and knowledge that he is effective in education.
Foucault highly criticizes “the tyranny of globalizing discourses”. His analysis sheds the
light on the “tyranny” of marginalizing local indigenous knowledge where it is seen because
of globalizing factors that have authority to position Western rationality above other forms
of knowledge and ultimately of course, education.
So, has education become franchised services that serve political power strategies?
Does colonization have indirect and powerful presence through education?
Are we being programmed BY “Oppressed” education that in turn oppresses us?
Is education itself free?
The Impact of The World Economic Crisis
"The aftershock of the financial crisis is threatening to stall or even reverse progress in basic
education in some of the world's poorest countries, creating a lost generation of children
denied an opportunity for the schooling that could lift them out of poverty. Governments must
act decisively to avert that risk."
While education is of primary focus for the betterment of living conditions, would the same
quality and methodology of education that was designed to enhance the effectiveness of the
collapsing economic system be still championed?
New titles of education are now introduced worldwide such as “Ethics”! Seems that we
found that it has been a missing element in our educational system.
The Banking system has proven to be a failure. Therefore, Tomarevski has now the echoing
ovation. Her petition of why the World Bank should be de-barred from education is most
evidently a savior of education.
In the European Commission’s Financial Crisis and Financial Education Report, The experts
have focused on extending financial education to the consumer in the EU, based on the fact
that this has been one of the main reasons why the U.S. irresponsible sub-prime mortgage
lending practices combined with low levels of financial literacy of the borrowers were
triggering factors of the crisis.
Thus, Financial Education has been now revealed to be a need for a world that has been
lead by Financial Power! Moreover, this has been in major developed countries the EU and
The call has been uttered loudly already in different ways. The title of SEAMEO-UNESCO
Education Congress and Expo, Bangkok, Thailand “Equity of Access to Quality Education:
The Road to Poverty Alleviation” in which John Daniel said, “Education is not simply about
teaching a curriculum and testing whether the kids have learned it. The physical and
psychological state of the pupils, the competence of the teachers and the environment of
the school are all crucial factors. We want child-friendly schools that seek out children in
order to give them the education that is their right. We want schools that are centered on
the children and include all of them in their activities. We want schools that link to the
families and communities around them.”
Though these descriptions are of education, this quotation directs these to be the
characteristics of "Quality Education". An attempt to save the system by creating new
system "Brands". This plea has alot of dimensions and layers that all say the same message.
The System itself needs to be purified.
In the "Wealth of Nations" Smith has asserted the fact that "Trust" among several values
such as, humanity, justice, and the non-profit values are of utter importance for success.
This in fact has been the missing piece of the puzzle that made the system collapse.
Moreover, our blaming "Capitalism", which was not mentioned in any written text by Adam
Smith, as mentioned by Amartya Sen in his "Capitalism and Confusion" speech at Cornell
University, makes us wonder even more about the identity of the system we have been
following. However, the “blame” of capitalism itself is not the bull’s eye! It is in losing the
values that carry it. Losing its purpose. And that has encompassed and is intricately
integrated with the education that emerged of the system and the void of its missing
Will the call for the freedom to education be able to invest in the opportunity of the crisis?
How can we best free the tool of freedom, “Education” from the educational system of
power, and unveil the power of education?
- The Millennium Development Goals Report
- European Commission Internal Market Services DG second meeting of the Expert Group on Financial Education
- Archeology of Knowledge, Michel Foucault
- Introducing Monsieur Foucault. Foucault and Education: Disciplines and Knowledge: Stephen Ball
- Equity of Access to Quality Education: The Road to Poverty Alleviation
- Capitalism and Confusion, Amartya Sen, Cornell University
- SEAMEO-UNESCO Education Congress and Expo, Bangkok, Thailand
- Education at a Glance 2009: OECD Indicators