24 October 2012

Education is the Practice of Freedom

by Dr Yael Klangwisan

Education is the practice of freedom. Hence its danger. Education as the practice of freedom leads to empowerment, and to the ability to choose between choices, and to create new choices from which to choose. Education as the practice of freedom leads to critical awareness and engagement with the powers that suppress and oppress the marginalized and the different. This kind of education as the practice of freedom leads to struggle against injustice, the identification of what is deep down, so wrong with society and the world. This education leads to vision, to an imagination of futures. It leads to actualization, to humanization, the recreation and transformation of what has always been, for a dream of the creating of peace and the instigation of a richness of living life … in a world where peace is not wanted, and life is rarely lived richly. Education as the practice of freedom gives birth to possibilities, the possibilities of new solutions for old problems, old solutions for new problems, and the possibility of possibility itself.

Malala Yousafzai, a 14 year old girl, in the Swat Valley, Pakistan is a world leader in education as the practice of freedom. For her, education, as the practice of freedom, is a life and death struggle. For her, and all the girls of Swat Valley, education comes at the highest cost in a region where militants believe wholeheartedly that God does not want the education of girls. On the 9th October, 2012, Malala was shot by an assassin while in her school van with her friends. Malala, the girl who wanted to make the world, to make Swat, a better place, and who had never touched a rifle in her life. I believe the world is a better place with her in it. I pray she lives – pray with me.

For more information on Malala’s story see http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-19944078

(ps. My thanks to the wonderful students of the “Cultures and Education” course, School of Education, Laidlaw, who inspired me again yesterday about education as freedom. This post is dedicated to them, and all the Malala’s of Swat Valley and the world.)

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