Wednesday April 24, 2019

Politics and Education: A Relationship that contributes a lot in shaping our Future

The 21st century has seen a remarkable increase in student potential and their early growth.

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Children studying in school, India, Twitter
  • Students have been the driving force for politics and nation building
  • The education that brings up the students of our country is of prime importance
  • Political systems are required to put more emphasis on education policies for the personal growth of the children

June 3, 2017: 

The political environment and the education system of the country are absolutely essential to its progress and the overall well-being of the society. It is however, complicated how they perceive each other. Education has served the political system without a doubt. After all, it is what the children are taught that ultimately shapes their outlook of the world.

Their ideologies are so strongly tied up with their personalities that they become curious to find the right answers. The political system has come a long way. From an absolute tyrannical sovereign to democracy. It is through education. Through what we have read. Through what our ancestors have left in writings for us and what they have warned us about.

And yes, the political system has returned that favor. Through constant support in the form of policies, funding, and infrastructure it has made sure that education of the nation runs smoothly. Politics has tried its best to provide for these young voters. As we shall see later, the type of political system has great influence on education quality.

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The relationship is thus mutual and it has to be that way for the society to sustain. Any loopholes that distance the two may be a threat to the very existence of this whole structure. Education consumed politics.

Political Science as we know became a field of study in itself because of the importance of the subject knowledge. Student Parties emerged as a result of inquisitiveness as well as willingness.

History tells us that during invasion or war certain things tend to happen. Men are killed. Women are raped to bring up the victor’s offspring. Country’s resources are exploited. And education is controlled. Burning/ banning books (or opinion at large) is an approach that the invaders use to suppress any revolutions. It is to suppress ideological opposition (political, cultural or even religious).

Knowledge is Power. Pixabay

In China, the Qin Dynasty after taking over the territory ordered for burning of books and killing of scholars. Confuscious’ works were destroyed. Valuable Chinese works were burnt that time. Alexander the Great had his army burn Zoroastrian Scriptures when they invaded the Persians. During the Soviet Russia, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s works were burnt and banned from public. Solzhenitsyn was an incredible critique of the Soviet Communism that claimed millions of lives and the absolute torture that the people had to go through. To burn the books was to stop the people from enlightenment that could reveal the true nature of the system that they depend on.

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On numerous occasions, politics has controlled the quality of education to serve those holding on to power. But education has massively helped the masses in realizing their right to self-determination. Decolonization was a product of the colonized people learning that they deserve their own economic and political system. Asians and Africans learned democracy from the colonizers and fought them. Nation building too was a product of quality education.

Decolonization was a product of the colonized people learning that they deserve their own economic and political system. Asians and Africans learned democracy from the colonizers and fought them. Nation building too was a product of quality education.

School Children in rural India. Wikimedia

Today, as the society we understand the value of good education. The students expect the quality of education to be premium, and they expect this from the government. The government itself wants the product of education to comply with the political system of the country.

The quality of education varies. It varies locally, domestically and globally. The curriculum may remain standard, but the approach and methodology adopted vary to a great extent.

Here is an interesting story from India. Last year (2016) a ridiculous incident took place. A girl had topped in humanities and arts in the Bihar State Board. During the celebrations and many interviews, she fumbled. She did not even know what Political Science was. Her extravagant marks were fraudulent. The reason behind this? Corruption, political contacts and the absolute mockery of education.

After that an inquiry was done and ‘sufficient measures’ were taken to avoid this kind of neglect on the part of Education Ministry. The result? This year 2017, only 35% children passed the Bihar State Board Examination. 65% failed!

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The reason for highlighting this incident is to highlight the status of education quality. Children were passing through fraud. And when that approach failed, they failed. It highlights that marks are the ultimate aim of the student. Can it be the fault of the education policies?

Indian political system is often in disagreement with its universities. In the past three years, we have seen many events that highlighted the conflict between the central government and university students.

Presently, there is a debate on ‘moderation policy’ of central examination board that quite seriously had the students and parents sweat and stress unnecessarily. Just before the nationwide announcement of the result, a political debate started whether grace marks should be allowed or not. Just days before the result!

Students are seen participating in politics, USA. VOA news

In the USA, students are often worried about the student loans that they take for higher studies and the little scope that they have of paying it back. Students at large are demanding that interest on student loans be dropped. The university students are well active in political debates and social justice movements happening on college campuses.

The responsibility to provide good quality of education is with the government. This includes everything from policies to equality, and to combine it with further scope of employment. Education must make good leaders. After all, we are the ‘Young Turks’.

– by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2393

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Concrete Efforts Needed For Restoration of Democracy in Cambodia

“One drawback was the lack of courage to participate from other political parties, commentators, and civil society organizations who may have feared for their safety,” he said.

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South Korea
Delegates take part in the Cambodian Democrats Congress in Gwangju, South Korea, April 21, 2019. RFA

Cambodian opposition leaders and supporters wrapped up a weekend gathering in South Korea with a call for a concerted effort to “restore” democracy to Cambodia and an appeal for support from signatories of the Paris Peace Agreement, which reestablished elections there after years of conflict.

Seventy Cambodian politicians, analysts, rights campaigners, and former prisoners of conscience traveled from around the globe to Gwangju for an April 19-21 Cambodian Democrats Congress organized by the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), where they exchanged ideas on reinstating democratic freedoms in Cambodia amidst a crackdown by Prime Minister Hun Sen.

The CNRP was banned by Cambodia’s Supreme Court in November 2017, months after its president, Kem Sokha, was arrested for an alleged plot to overthrow the government.

The dissolution of the CNRP was part of a wider crackdown by Hun Sen on the opposition, NGOs and the independent media, which paved the way for his ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) to win all 125 seats in parliament in the country’s July 2018 general election. The CNRP has since regrouped and remains active outside the country.

At the conclusion of the weekend’s Cambodian Democrats Congress, delegates concluded that the crackdown had forced Cambodia down the “wrong track” politically, and required that democrats from the Cambodian diaspora unite to realign the democratic process with that originally envisioned by Cambodia’s constitution and the spirit of the 1991 Paris Peace Agreement.

The congress called on all political parties, the armed forces, civil servants, NGOs, Buddhist clergy, academics, laborers and farmers, both inside and outside of the country, to “actively participate in the restoration of Cambodian democracy” in accordance with the charter and the accord in a nonviolent manner.

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The congress and demonstration took place despite earlier threats from Cambodian government spokesman Phay Siphan that Hun Sen could “take legal action against demonstrators overseas,” without providing details.
Pixabay

Participants also urged all democratic countries—and particularly those who signed the Paris Peace Accord—as well as the U.N. and other international organizations, to “continue to render their assistance and support to Cambodian citizens and those struggling for democracy in Cambodia.”

The Paris Peace Agreements ended war between Vietnam and Cambodia on Oct. 23, 1991 and led to the United Nation’s administration of Cambodia’s government while the country transitioned to a system of democratic elections.

The congress demanded that Cambodian authorities also negotiate with the European Commission to seek political solutions and divert any possible economic sanctions leveled in response to rollbacks on democracy and Hun Sen’s crackdown.

The European Union decided in February to launch a six-month monitoring period to determine whether Cambodian exports should continue to enjoy tax-free entry into the European market under the Everything But Arms (EBA) scheme.

Cambodian Democrats Congress also called over the weekend for greater freedoms for NGOs and the media operating in Cambodia, as well as an electoral system that encourages fair competition from all political parties in a neutral political climate, where civil servants and security personnel remain unbiased.

The congress recommended that legislation be drafted to limit the mandate of all leaders to 10 years in office, and also called for a bill that limits the position of prime minister to two mandates, not exceeding 10 years.

The weekend’s gathering was accompanied by a candlelight demonstration on Saturday led by acting CNRP President Sam Rainsy to “liberate Cambodia’s democracy from dictator Hun Sen,” which were organized by local CNRP youth leadership and attended by some 8,000 Cambodian workers in South Korea and opposition activists from around the world.

The congress and demonstration took place despite earlier threats from Cambodian government spokesman Phay Siphan that Hun Sen could “take legal action against demonstrators overseas,” without providing details.

Reactions to events

Political commentator Kim Sok, who traveled from Finland to attend the events in Gwangju, told RFA’s Khmer Service that he considered the weekend a success, but said he believes some would-be participants chose not to come because they feared reprisals from Cambodia’s government.

“One drawback was the lack of courage to participate from other political parties, commentators, and civil society organizations who may have feared for their safety,” he said.

“But I believe that the congress was conducted well, both in discussion and through the resolutions it produced.”

Preap Kol, executive director of Transparency International Cambodia, told RFA that he is concerned he could be targeted after returning to Cambodia from the congress, but said he had attended in the interest of the Khmer people.

“I came here to meet with democrats who are Khmers, like me—I can’t avoid meeting with those who are struggling for democracy,” he said.

“I’m working with all crucial political parties, including the ruling party … Fear makes people become biased, so by daring to work with both the ruling party and the opposition parties, I maintain my independence and neutrality.”

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The European Union decided in February to launch a six-month monitoring period to determine whether Cambodian exports should continue to enjoy tax-free entry into the European market under the Everything But Arms (EBA) scheme. Pixabay

A Cambodian worker living in South Korea named Ros Saroeun told RFA that her mother back home had threatened to disown her when she attended the demonstrations in Gwangju.

“I’m not a politician, but I have a strong love for my country,” she said.

Also Read: To Exploit Mothers as Labor, North Korea is Reintroducing A Policy of Offering Free Preschool
“I am working in [South Korea] and I see that their laws, living conditions, and their people are good. When I compare it to Cambodia, I don’t know how we can experience that change. We have to strive hard together for our country and our future generations … If we don’t, our country will be destroyed.”

While Cambodia’s government did not issue a statement in response to the conclusions offered by the Cambodian Democrats Congress, CPP spokesman Sok Eysan took to social media on Sunday to dismiss the candlelight demonstration as “dry and flavorless,” with “merely hundreds” in attendance. (RFA)