Learning for Nonviolence and Better Governance versus Teaching for Violence and Worst Governance

EDUCATION, 8 Sep 2014

Surya Nath Prasad, Ph. D. – TRANSCEND Media Service

On The Eve of Teachers’ Day & World Teachers’ Day

Every year on 5th September Teachers’ Day in India is celebrated on the birthday of a great teacher Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan. In many countries, Teachers’ Days are intended to be special days for the appreciation of teachers, and may include celebrations to honour them for their special contributions in a particular field or area, or the community in general. The date on which Teachers’ day is celebrated varies from country to country. Teachers’ days are distinct from World Teachers’ Day which is officially celebrated across the world on October 5, and World Teachers’ Day, held annually on 5th October since 1994 to commemorates teachers’ organizations worldwide. Its aim is to mobilize support for teachers and to ensure that the needs of future generations will continue to be met by teachers.

Saint Kabir considered teacher as superior to God saying, “If God and teacher are standing before him, he would like to salute the teacher first who introduces the God.” And the ancient Indian ideology goes beyond this considering teachers themselves as God. The persons engaged in field of teaching should evaluate their status as per their academic qualifications, knowledge, training, skill, experience,   in view of the above cited two comments about teachers in the present situation. But we find they are not even human being except mechanically qualified experienced trained teachers in existing knowledge in all grades, and transmit these knowledge and experience among their students. They are neither innovative in manifestation of their own treasure of knowledge within nor awaken their students for innovation by identifying the particular talent and knowledge in them.

Remark of the opening line of Kothari Commission, “A nation is built in its classrooms”, and with the same analogy, we may draw the inference, “The world is also built in its classrooms”. But this dream can be a reality only when the three conditions, viz. 1. security and safety of children and teachers in classrooms, 2. attendance and presence of all children of the nations in classrooms , and 3.denial of pedagogy, and practice of science of learning by teaches in classrooms, are addressed properly and strictly. But the reality is that nowhere in any nation, children and teachers are safe and secure in classrooms ( Reports on ‘The World Today Rise in Violence Against School Staff’ by Rachel Carbonell , 2004; ‘Bullying Dogs Japan Students’ by Reuters, 2006; ‘Chinese Teacher kills Girl in Class’ by PTI, 2006; ‘Bush Summit on School Violence Opens’ by Associated Press, 2006; ‘Stemming Campus Violence’ by Puja Rawat, 2003; and ‘Cases of Child Sexual Abuse risen from 158 in 2010 to 1, 537 in 2013 by Child-line India Foundation, 2014 – a NGO that runs a 24-hour emergency helpline for children in need of care and protection, and several other reports also on teachers’ and students’ harassments and torture justify this facts), also not in anywhere all children are in classrooms (57 million children and 69 million adolescents are still out of school as per UNESCO’s Education for All Global Monitoring Report, 2014), and teachers are not free from the use of pedagogy in classrooms at any place, and the science of learning is not practiced by the teachers in the classrooms anywhere.

The different reports and news as regards to safety and security of taught and teachers in classrooms, poor enrolments of children in classrooms and use of pedagogy in classrooms everywhere are the great hindrance for building the nation and the world a place for peace.

However, this is fact that the number of children is less in classrooms and more out of classrooms everywhere. Though out of classrooms children are deprived of classrooms teachers, they are very much in touch with other teachers, viz. parents, preachers (followers of different sects) and political leaders – these teachers have great impact on the classrooms children also because their maximum times are with them. Hence  we cannot say only classrooms products are the nation and world builders. Outside classrooms products have more roles in nation and world building. Certainly, the quality of rulers in the nations is poor in the sense of good governance, just and equitable distribution of resources of development among all and maintenance of peace in the nations due to being ignorant about the proper methods of dialogue and discussion for transferring and communicating existing knowledge particularly in democratic and semi-democratic nations, and in non-democratic nations these three teachers including classrooms teachers knowingly and unknowingly communicate the information and knowledge through dictation and regimentation with authority and force.

Reality is that before transferring any ideas, knowledge, or concept to any one on any issues, the use of their methods comes first. Parents, preachers, political leaders including teachers (who are supposed to be trained in variety of methods and techniques) considering themselves as masters of their respective houses – families, religious institutions, nation-states and classrooms – are the only in possession of knowledge, and sons and daughters in the families, followers in the different religious sects, common people in nation-states and children in classrooms are in dispossessed position, hence they try to teach them transferring their knowledge to them through teaching by way of indoctrination, regimentation or dictation these are traits of pedagogy i.e. violence. And education was pedagogy-ridden, hence, education was not and even it is not man-making everywhere and we have been failure in creating man (human). During his own time, Swami Vivekanand observed and said, “… it is not a man-making education… fifty years of such education has not produced one original man….” (Swami Nirvedanand, 1971). And further fifty years of education, since Kothari Commission Report of 1964, it has not been man-making education due to the pedagogy (the science of teaching) not being replaced by the science of learning.

Advocates, believers and practitioners in the science of learning will never agree with emphasis of National Policy on Education 1986 that “… no people can rise above the level of its teachers”. Because the greatness of teacher is in this that his disciple goes ahead to him and goes beyond his search, creation, invention, discovery of new ideas, things and places.

There are non-human teachers also for many which can bring tremendous change in the knowledge and experience of human-beings. Jean-Jacques Rousseau, a great Naturalist of Eighteenth Century was totally against the human teachers and books, and he prescribed the only single book i.e. Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe for his imaginary child Emile in his popular book Emile, or On Education. Many centuries before the period of Rousseau, Dattatreya of ancient India, who belonged to the ancient Vedic period, had 24 teachers, but except a child and a girl, all of them were non-human-being. Dattarreya’s relationship with each of his teachers did not consist of didactic lectures or of intellectual discussions or understanding. All of existence became his teacher because he was a disciple, and because he was a disciple he was also the teacher. The union of discipleship and teacher-ship is a state of consciousness (awareness). Dattatreya must be recognized as a great naturalist in the discipline of education, though in some parts of India, he is worshiped as incarnation of gods.

Many great ancient saints, sages and even scientists in different parts of the world were not in classrooms nor they had any teachers, but their principles, theories, laws, creations are still relevant today, and part and parcel of curriculum in different courses of studies. Kitchen was classroom without teacher for James watt, garden was classroom without teacher for Newton, bathroom was classroom without teacher for Archimedes, and prison was classroom without teacher for Jawaharlal Nehru, who himself admitted in his letter to his sisters what he failed to learn in Harrow he learnt politics, law and sociology in the prison for 9 years. I do not mean that there should not be human teachers and books. I do not mean also that kitchen, garden, bathroom and prison should be classrooms without teachers for better knowledge and creations. My purpose to give these citations as examples is to reveal the facts about the inherent treasure of knowledge in every man and woman and each one of them needs awareness about this treasure, the rest efforts are theirs and everyone is capable to do so. Teachers, books, other living and non-living things are keys, stimulus and motivation to unfold the treasure of knowledge in the form of creations, inventions and discoveries. Sometimes some events bring major change and make real man (human) in ignorant person likes Saint Balmiki, before to be saint he was killer, and he killed several people, but incidence of killing of one of pair birds by a hunter gave much pain in his heart and what he uttered in verse made him a first poet. Great teacher like Lord Buddha by his presence awakened cruel killer Angulimal (who murdered 99 people and he was going to kill his mother to complete 100th  murder as he decided so) to be an Arhat (a Buddhist who has reached the stage of enlightenment). In Ramayana period, shri Jamvant acted as a true teacher for Lord Hanuman, he enlightened Hanuman and made him to realize his capacity to jump the ocean, and he did so. All the above incidents show that the treasure of perfection, power or capacity of knowledge is within every one and outside knowledge, experience and teachers, ideas contained in books merely can help him or her to manifest them to be man (human).

Now I would like to start with this less number of children in classrooms about their teaching and learning through learned and trained teachers. There is a great hope from the existing and prospective teachers, because the number of children will increase in classrooms under the scheme of education for all and right to education. But since this teachers’ day, the teachers will have to change their minds and will have to practice and use the science of learning (mathetics), and will never practice science of teaching (pedagogy) because I consider learning as peace and teaching as violence, because we all learn from each other. I always compare a teacher with a doctor. A doctor operates a wound of a patient, puts some medicines and makes the bandage, that’s all. But no doctor can enter into the process of healing of the wound of the patient. The healing of the wound will take it own course. However, the importance of the doctor does not diminish. He/she must be specialized and trained in operation, knowledgeable in proper medicines and skilled in making bandages. Similarly a teacher arranges the things through variety of methods, techniques, devices and audio-visual aids so that learning in the learners may occur. But no teacher can enter in to the process of learning of the learners. Learning will take it own course. Here also, the importance of the teacher does not minimize. He/she is supposed to be well-educated in the concept and learning of and about man (especially about his or her constituent parts) in global perspective through the knowledge and practice of variety of disciplines and well-trained in various methods and techniques of learning with specialization in audio-visual aids.

Hence I advise the teachers of our nation and the world to consider themselves as learners leading to the formation of sustainable genuine democracy, performance of good governance and practice of nonviolence. And this change among the teachers will certainly fulfill the hope and dream of Kothari Commission that the nation is built in classrooms and ultimately the world will also be built there.

I extend my warm greetings to all the teachers on this very auspicious Teachers Day with the prayer of a pupil, “May we both (the teacher and the taught) attain fame together” as cited in Taittiriyopanishad.


Dr. Surya Nath Prasad is M. A. (Sociology), M. Ed. (Experimental Education), M. Phil. (Nonviolence and Peace Studies), and   Ph. D .( Education). Dr. Prasad is a recipient of Honorary D. Lit. (Peace Education) at the hands of Dr. Shankar Dayal Sharma then Former President, Government of India. Dr. Prasad has taught for three decades as Assistant and Associate Professor of Education in India.  He is Former Visiting Professor of Peace Studies at the Graduate Institute of Peace Studies in Kyung Hee University, Republic of Korea. He is Former President and Currently Executive Vice President of International Association of Educators for World Peace. Dr. Prasad is Hon. Associate Editor of Diplomacy Journal (Republic of Korea). He is a Member of Editorial Board of Peace and Conflict Review – A Journal of UN mandated University for Peace (Costa Rica). Dr. Prasad is Founder and Editor-in-Chief, Peace Education: An International Journal. The Journal has ISSN number.   Dr. Prasad distributes the Journal free of cost throughout the world. Website of his Journal is: http://www.sites.google.com/site/peaceeducationsnp/ One may reach him at dr_suryanathprasad@yahoo.co.in.


This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 8 Sep 2014.

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