TED Conversations

This conversation is closed.

Human rights and philosophy should be taught in school!

As a member of the Sudanese community, where human rights are constantly violated and where people, mostly the younger generations, do not tend to engage in critical issues affecting the whole nation, I believe that Education should be changed and transformed into teaching the students how to think philosophically and lay the foundation for that since nursery school, rather than indoctrinating them with ideologies and beliefs that would just dull their minds and make them incapable of questioning things, and taking initiative to find solutions to problems.
Many people here are very unaware of their rights, know nothing about vital issues like economics, for example, and completely oblivious to what's written in the Constitution.


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • Mar 1 2013: To be honest, I think that it is a question that goes beyond education. Our educational system (not just where you live but everywhere) is based on the society that 'supports' it. If you want to change the way people think then you should change the way society thinks. Education is indeed the best place to start but you have to know that change there is not as easy as It may sound.

    I was trained as a highschool teacher. I'm allowed to teach History (my favorite), geography and Catholic religion (God, forgive me). In all 3 of these subjects human rights has a place. Yet, when I tought it (currently I am not longer a teacher) I always had a feeling that neither my students, nor my mentors seemed to think that is was more than 'something that you were obliged to learn'. Their minds, their interests were not focussed on this. Some students, not all of them, were like 'whatever'. My heart bleeds everytime I see that. To most here in Belgium, human rights is something they hear about on television, right before they zap away to watch their favorite show. To most students, it is something they can earn an extra credit with if they write a lettre for the release of a political prisoner.

    It is so hard to motivate students, or make them aware that these problems even exist. I remember that one time when I had prepared a class about the Iraqi war and all the controversy that surrounded it. After class my mentor told me that I should chose another subject for my next class, she said: "For them, it is a far-from-my-bed-story." She didn't even mind. I didn't understand because to me it seemed that a subject like that deserved attention from everyone. I had intended to make that class more aware of the problems out there but they were simply not interested.

    I blame society in general for this: people are not concerned as long as it does not affect them directly. It is society that has to change. Education needs to change but will society let it?
    • thumb
      Mar 5 2013: Allow me to ask you a question, what do you suggest to overcome this problem, the problem of society interference with education?
      In my point of view, I think education extends far beyond the boundaries of educational institutions, and It should be achieved with a holistic approach; Schools and their curricula only formulate a single tool that is very powerful, but its not the only tool there.
      we can use the things that influence the masses the most, the media for example, music, art..and the list goes on.
      In some parts of my country Music is the most influential tool, in other aspects dancing can be very influential.
      What do you think ?
      • Mar 5 2013: exellent idea, the holistic approach!
        I quiet agree with you. I suppose that it has to start with the nurture we give to our children, the values that we teach them. Unfortunatly, so far society has done nothing but undermine this. The problem is that society is focussed on consumption, mindless consumption. One isn't suppose to create, one is suppose to consume without question. The education of people is only second to this, and even then... it is nearly always directed towards efforts to make us productive citizens, not independent thinkers.
        All of this creates the problem of how to educate our children (and adults) about human rights, how to make them more aware of their rights. In the society I just discribed, people like that are threath.
        As for the use of media... It's an excellent idea and it is already set in motion: think of the internet... But the great TV-stations almost all have an 'agenda' of their own. In their opinion entertainment isn't suppose to educate us, it's suppose to keep us happy.
        Off course, not all programs are like that. And an attentive person will still be able to learn from shows on TV.

        You are right to say that education goes far beyond the boundaries of schools. And the use of media is absolutely necessary for the education and to create awareness. It is not an easy task, certainly not one that can be accomplished in 1 generation. But all journeys start with a single step. Music is certainly a good idea; here in Belgium there are some great musicfestivals. I have never heard of a musicfestival responsible for creating violence among people, if anything: it allows us to come together and form new bonds. (Unfortunatly they are also very expensive to attend)

        I think that the only way to make people make the first step is to keep trying, to keep offering them a way off learning. In the end, we can not force people to overcome their fear (cause that is essentially what keeps them back) but we can offer them opportunities.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.