I've had a great break from blogging during the past six weeks, but it's time to ramp up again. So, onward and upward!
Let me start with this question: If you were given the task of shaping the culture of an entire nation, and had all the resources of the state behind you, where would you begin? Imagine you had full capacity to create laws and use the power of government to force changes in the way people live and work. What would you do?
Some governments have tried this. While the top-down approach might be effective at changing certain external behaviors, it’s hard to change people’s inner worldview and values by command and coercion.
You could, however, shape the culture of a nation in a much less overt way. It would take more time, say a couple of generations, but history has shown it can be done. It’s actually possible to affect fundamental changes in society's values and people's voluntary choices through education.
I have been wanting to do some posts on education for a while now. And since September is upon us, I think now's the time. Since I have spent the bulk of my adult life involved in the field of education, I feel at liberty to be frank about what I believe is essential for increasing meaning in schooling, while at the same time affecting positive changes to benefit the wider community, both now and down the track.
First, let me say that education worth its salt does not rest on an academic base. Of course, academics are of vital importance, and the very nature of formal education is academic, but the foundation upon which all academic skills are to be built is virtue.
That’s because knowledge apart from virtue isn't worth much. What's more, imparting knowledge to those who are void of virtue is a violation of good sense. As someone aptly said, “The world already has enough educated fools.” If you’ve ever had your computer hard drive crash as the result of some brilliantly designed virus, you know what I’m talking about. And we’ve seen some extraordinary examples of educated corporate accountants “cooking the books” in recent years, with devastating results. I could go on, but I’ll spare you.
So with this opening shot, we'll turn our attention toward education. Education that can bring extraordinary meaning to "ordinary" schooling, and make great nations in the process.
To be continued...