The nexus between democracy and education is undeniably important. Both of them complement each other. Democracy is used as a means to educate and education, in turn, is utilized to solidify democratic ethos and principles – liberty, freedom of expression and freedom to protest. Not only that, the way these rights should be exercised are governed by the education system, within the bounds of citizens have been nurtured in the first place. If an education system is designed to animate democracy, then these salient features are woven into its fabric. If not, then one cannot feel resentful by seeing visuals which comes with violent and bellicose demonstrations. It is the civic ethics afforded by democracy that do not let strikes morph into gross incidents. But what engraves an explicit line, between these two, into the minds of the populace is the education environs that preponderates in a society.
Democracy is a system where the conflicts and disputes are resolved with rational arguments, where people do not get squeezed under the weight of injustice, where liberty and individuals choices are paramount and in which reasoning rules the roost. It can never be relegated only to the fringes of the voting booth, for it is a name of behaviors of our social conduct and the milieu that swirls around our day-to-day interactions while fostering the creativity to bloom.
Oddly enough, our education system is not designed to fuel the ingenious flames which reside inside the individuals, precisely our young-lings. It hampers the cognitive gestation of its subjects and dissuades questioning authority. It makes them constitutionally timid, politically incorrect and renders them a blind aficionado of conformity. The spirit of the extant design is one of contempt for those who ask doubtful questions. What comes out of such minds is the incapacity of mind-frame, to strike out a different line, and versatility that is required to tease out any new discovery. They are unable to think objectively and remain prisoners of their conventional moorings. By reaction to this over-emphasis, those who want radical improvement tend to become revolutionaries and anarchists.
When education institutions provide a platform to their pupils where they can freely bask in political discourse, it is an approximation of laying the foundation of democratic citizens. Open and substantive discussions on ideas, the catholicity of viewpoints, debates on national or local issues are the bedrock of democratic societies. The defenestration of these values insinuates a precursor of a society standing on the verge of degeneration into an authoritarian one, while its citizens being mere subjects of the cruelties. Their young people who are not politically-literate and remain constrained to their classroom studies would become all the more susceptible to falling into the hands of extremist or alt-right populist politicians.
Democratic education also lays claim to the front of universal education. It does not assume that education is only for the privileged class and stands in stark contrast to economic compulsion which impedes the acquisition of knowledge by the large segment of the society. The upshot of this kind of system is that a maximal level of utility of ability and the excision of class consciousness. The advocates of neo-conservative and neo-liberal education are disdainful of any such effort and wedded to the idea of imbibing the students with respect towards status quo and conventional values. For our part, it has been seen that the progressive education, that sprouts from having robust democratic institutions, relatively, farewell than that of conservative. Since the advocates of democratic education must have a certain degree of imagination in order to depart from the conventional standpoint. Therefore, both intelligence and imagination tend to be less repressed by a system which is hostile against the status quo and reckon the permeation of education as a fundamental right.
By now, we can responsibly say that the cradle of a purely democratic society is the modality of its education, particularly of those classes tasked with the learning of social studies. The provision of space to wield the political rights, reflection on the same matter by taking distinct views on board, and having critical and politically conscious masses, all these virtues act as catalysts and stall a free and fair society from going off track. But, for all of this to happen, we must educate the young people within the fortress of democratic standards, so that they can push the glories of a free society to the fore. Hence, a better inception point in that direction would be education as it is inextricably intertwined with democracy and its paraphernalia.
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