Monday, September 14, 2015

Educating the Oppressed

Pedagogy of the OppressedPedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Pedagogy of the Oppressed begins with the process of humanization and dehumanization and in turn humanizes the left ideology fraught with not-so-occasional violent revolutions. Actually, it turns the epistemology of whole education/development/revolution discourse upside down and gives an insight which is more humane and understanding and at the same time not entirely inimical to the oppressor class. But more significantly, it critiques the prevailing scenario of education which he calls “banking model “and proposes a “problem-posing” approach. However strange it sounds but despite the establishment of the authority of what Paulo Freire asserted in such a vivid clear terms, it appears it has not been turned into praxis. The area of education still remains largely driven by rote-learning, information sharing and promises of making money. The student- teacher dynamics has remained still unchanged and has not graduated to what Paulo envisages teacher student-student teacher. It has much to do with a reluctance to relinquish a position of power and undue authority. Same can be told about the oppressor class who are responsible for creating, managing and perpetuating an unjust social order which dehumanizes the oppressed class and stop them from realizing the potential of a full human being. Due to their comfortable position of authority, the oppressor class cannot be expected to destroy such order and organically it should come from the oppressed class. But the centuries of exploitation of the mind and the body has rendered the oppressed unwilling to take up the cause of revolution. A fear of freedom has gripped them. They have inculcated few traits of the oppressor themselves and this duality is hindering them to initiate the process of development. So, from where to start transformation which will lead to development? Paulo suggest cooperation, organization and cultural synthesis to start the revolution. But this revolution does not intend to be violent or retaliatory against the oppressor. Rather, it must be informed by the love for humanity and nourished by the fruits of true education. In a world which is growing more and more materialistic, mechanical and self-centred, Paulo takes us to an ontological inquiry and shows path for a deeper engagement with society at large. Personally, I feel that the categories of the oppressor and the oppressed is very fluid and one may become both simultaneously. However, there is no denial of the fact that there are few absolute oppressed lots (tribals, Dalits, females, minorities to name a few) who are victim of a world order which is not conducive to them. And to inquire why it is so, maybe we will have to introspect ourselves whether an oppressor is situated deep within us without our own awareness! Undoubtedly, a true education will help in this self-inquiry.

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Parina said...

Very nicely summarized and covered all points of enlightenment, empowerment, education, praxis, problem-posing approach etc. Yeh, true education is require for even self enlightenment which is bigger issue nowadays. Great.

Pinkle said...

Nice views... An oppressor within...thoughtful