“Reminder of the forgotten: education and moral quest” by Avijit Pathak
Through Mukhtar Ahmad Farooqi
THE The book Recalling the Forgotten: Education and Moral Quest was written by Prof. Avijit Pathak who teaches at the Center for the Study of Social Systems, JNU School of Social Sciences. His areas of interest are the sociology of modernization, social theory and the sociology of education. In this book, Professor Pathak discusses the emancipatory ideals of education and the need to recall forgotten wisdom, combat current pathology, and move forward towards a better future. From school education to higher education, this book sheds light on the classification and dissemination of knowledge, texts and practices, educational interventions and creative possibilities to shape the educational scenario at different levels of education. The commodification of education and its impact on the formation of capitalist ethics in learners from an early age has been discussed extensively in the book.
This book begins by explaining the myriad ways in which capitalist ethics have contributed to the “commodification” of education. Explained in a hermeneutical methodology, the author warns us that under the guise of techno-capitalist modernity, our educational system today seems to eclipse our subtle sensitivities that would otherwise have made us more capable of appreciating the simple joys of ” everyday life”. A clear genealogy of his thoughts can be attributed to Durkheim’s analysis of the anomic social order, to Marx’s concern for “alienation” beset by bourgeois individualism and the “one-dimensional dimension” of man as such. that she is married by Herbert Marcuse. Yet, it should be noted that the author does not seem in the mood to enter the age-old philosophical debate between materialists and idealists.
The book also questions the goals pursued by education systems today. Even though education is still seen as a means of socialization, the desired products of the education factory are now believed to license “professional mobility and material achievement”. Quoting extensively from the writings of John Dewey, Rabindranath Tagore, Emile Durkheim and even the Upanishadics, the author alludes to an urgent need to rediscover what he calls the four fundamental principles of education, namely “critical awareness, inner awakening, aesthetic imagination and vocation sensitivity ”. The author pleads for stemming the tide of the spiritual vacuum that tech-savvy education tends to exacerbate. Such a short sight ignores what Guha calls the “autonomous domain” of the individual.
Having detected the symptoms of the disease which afflicts education today, the author does not allow his detractors to dismiss his concerns as mere utopian outpourings. The “reflective pedagogy” agenda that Pathak so religiously advocates systematically takes tangible form in his carefully segmented perspective on the three major subjects, namely science, mathematics, and social science. The author’s underlying agenda or motive is the insistence that today’s academic discourses have let their “utilitarian” components overtake “cognitive” components. There is an excessive adoration for chosen careers that has nipped the individual’s “inner calling” in the bud. The author therefore launches a clear call for an initiative to see beyond textbooks, regimented examination patterns and homogenized aspirations.
In short, the author visualizes an educational system which is freed from the “delinguistified directing media of money and power”. It visualizes a culture of learning capable of contributing to the creation of a spiritually elevated / ecologically sensitive / egalitarian society with philosophical contemplation, dialogical interaction and sociological reflection.
This book is a must-read for all educators, academics, philosophers, students, university and college professors, as it will help them develop their critical thinking and curiosity. Additionally, this book will guide educators in instilling moral values that our younger generation lacks, as the commodification of education, despite hollow slogans of societal development by educational institutions across the country, has a direct impact on moral development.
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