"Education for a common collective: Pedagogies of Sharing and Caring"
Declaring an 'educational arms race' with India and China, President Barack Obama warned his country against 'unilateral disbarment' with budget cuts because 'countries that out-educate us today will out-compete us tomorrow'. Militaristic jingoism leads to new term such as 'out-think' and 'out-educate', reflecting a crassly competitive com-modification of knowledge. This is contrary to the spirit of trans-formative education, which looks at education to reduce inequalities, to ensure sustainable development and to address social justice for all through collective action. Despite the Jomtien World.
Declaration on 'Education For All' with an 'expanded vision'- for the empowerment of children, youth and adults- national curricular aims have been changing to facilitate rather than interrogate the global neo-liberal agenda. An EFA (Education For All) review (Amadio et al, 20050 of the trends in national aims between the 1980s and 200s show, on the one hand, an increased call for 'expanding human capabilities and choices',- now lies abandoned, in favor of 'facilitating successful adaptation to an ever-changing world'.
The Gandhian trans-formative model of Basic Education as part of the anti-colonial freedom struggle in India, developed ' education for life, through life' using productive craft – weaving, carpentry, agriculture, or pottery, etc.- as the medium of interdisciplinary hands-on learning. It also served to culturally interrogative the traditional caste system which stigmatized the low-castes and their vocations. However, in the global economy of knowledge, education has been increasingly used for selection and reproduction of inequalities, through managerial discourses of standards, choice and efficiency. The hierarchies of 'academic' vs 'vocational' knowledge or 'brain vs body's skills have become more sharply drawn, to further marginalize the disadvantaged majority, especially in the contexts of developing countries (Rampal, 2010).
This article present Socio-cultural perspectives on critical education (Apple et al, 2009), to show how alternate models of schooling can address diverse life-worlds within process of knowledge construction, to help shape the envisioned 'creative common collective' of sharing and caring. The concept Note of the South-South Forum on Sustainability stresses that 'vicious competition has become an obsolete and fatal paradigm', and that a new search needs to be made to invoke creative cooperation and sharing 'to overcome capitalism along with its adjunct destructive modernization'. What role can education play in nurturing such creative cooperation as the new paradigm for humanity? How can children, especially the majority from rural poor families, bring their collective voice and agency to counter the urban hegemony of individualistic competition that currently dominates that culture of school (Rampal, 2008)? how can different knowledge find 'official' place in education, and how can the collective agency of learners be engaged to make meaning, and with high expectations from all? How can 'productive learning and assessment' be supported rather than the debilitating standardized testing regimes being increasingly imposed on schools in the name of 'quality control'?
Recent attempts in India under the National Curriculum Framework (NCERT, 2005) have sought to redesign primary schooling, though an interdisciplinary approach to address often contested issues of food and hunger, subsistence agriculture and exploitation of forests, etc. from an critical perspective of social justice (Rampal, 2007, 2012). Drawing upon the 'common science' curriculum that changed the hegemony of the elites in nineteenth century England (Godson and Prophet, 1983), the 'productive pedagogies of difference' (Hayes and Lingard, 2006) of the Queensland school reform in Australia, or pater describes models of education redesigned to ensure equity for all within a cooperative 'culture of success'. The paper substantiates these with recent studies that have shown that children studying together in mixed Socio-economic and ability groups perform much better, through curricula that build on collective action, among peers and larger communities of learning. In fact, countries that enforce a 'moral imperative' to protect children from the excesses of economic inequality with a focus on educational quality achieve higher levels of achievement and also greater levels of social cohesion (Green et al, 2006). Moreover, it has been seen that states can generate a potent form of social capital in promoting educational achievement and humanistic values that can benefit those who have the least cultural capital and the most difficulty in acquiring and accumulating social capital on their own (Carnoey et al, 2007).
(Reference Author: Anita Rampal)