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Education for sustainable development

Education for sustainable development
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Abid Hussain Rather
Development is usually stinted only to economic welfare of people but it is a comprehensive term and includes the social weal of the concerned people along with their economic progress. In other words big dams, tall and concrete buildings, macadamized roads, magnificent plazas and fashionable clothes are not the only indicators of a developed nation but the term development includes other social aspects also along with these economic indicators.
Indian noble laureate Amartya Sen in his book ‘ Development as Freedom’ gives indication to the fact that freedom of expression, freedom of thought and freedom of choice are essential for the development of a nation. So the material resources of a nation are not the only indicators of its development but we must consider whether the people have freedom of expression, freedom of thought and freedom of choice.
Education and development are two interrelated and inseparable terms. Education system of a country is closely linked to its level of development. The sustainable development of a country in which both economic and social aspects are included is linked to such an education system in which both natural sciences and social sciences along with humanities are taught and are given equal preference. The dream of sustainable development can’t be fulfilled by giving importance only to natural sciences or social sciences.
When we talk about the development of a nation, it does not mean accidental or momentary development, which doesn’t lasts for a long period of time or which will be at the cost of our future generation rather we mean sustainable development.
According to the World Commission on Environment and Development, sustainable development is defined as the development that meets the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. As such the presumption of sustainable development is impossible without an educated society. It is education which familiarizes us with different concepts and ideologies which pave way for sustainable development.
It makes an individual creative and useful and enables him to find the creative solutions for the challenges faced by mankind in the present times. A question strikes our mind that what kind of education it should be which could be helpful in achieving the goal of sustainable development.
It is obvious that just increasing the percentage of literacy rate can’t fulfill this dream. Rather a good and high standard of education system can play a critical role in the economic and social development of a nation. When we have an overview of the education system in our schools and colleges we find that it has not risen above the level of transferring information. Famous educationist Paulo Freire has termed such type of education as the ‘Banking Concept of Education’ where the students become silent listeners in the classrooms.
The teacher transfers the information to students and they store it safe in their minds to recall it in the examination hall to get good grades. Such type of teaching learning process doesn’t develop the cognitive, creative and observational capabilities of students rather it makes them robots without critical thinking and creative potentialities.
The comprehensive concept of education includes the accretion and modification of knowledge, proficiency and attitude. The main aim of education which connects it with development is that it should embolden and nourish the critical thinking and creative potentialities and amenabilities of the students but unfortunately such type of education system is hardly found in our society.
Education should make students’ mind efficient enough to comprehend the learned knowledge and apply it in solving the new problems and challenges faced by mankind. It should help them to raise their voice against the outdated rituals and traditional taboos of the society.
We need to ponder upon all those processes which can mutually bring changes in our education system to make it better and concatenate it with sustainable development. It includes proper allotment of funds to educational sector, improvement of basic infrastructure, versatility in curriculum in accordance with the needs of modern society, modern teaching techniques and many more.
All these processes are essential for improving the standard of our education. Along with all these things a teacher has a pivotal role in improving the education system of our society, so teachers should be provided with modern teaching trainings and techniques. If our society covets for an efficient community of teachers, they should be provided with the opportunities of economic benefits, social recognition and reputation and professional promotions.
Teacher education is must for the professional development of teachers. Teacher training institutions should be provided with sophisticated and modern teaching aids and instruments to train teachers for the revival of traditional education system of our society. It is need of the hour to revive and reconstruct the teacher training system to make teachers proficient for teaching process.
Interdisciplinary approach should be adopted to utilize other subjects for learning and understanding some critical issues and concept. A close and interdependent link should be established between theoretical and practical aspects of learning instead of focusing on theoretical part only. A teacher should use both formal as well as informal methods of teaching to bring innovation in himself and to attain mastery in the field of teaching. Only a proficient and skillful teacher can provide comprehensive education to its students which can vouchsafe a society for a holistic and sustainable development.
(The author is a columnist and teaches Geography at GDC, Kulgam. He can be reached at [email protected])

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