ASSIGNMENT_UNIT IV CRITICAL CONSCIOUSNESS
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KESHAB KUMAR SIJALI M.PHIL ENGLISH ROLL NO.75153011
NEPAL OPEN UNIVERSITY FACULTY OF EDUCATION MANBHAWAN, LALITPUR
Background of the Study
Paulo Freire is the Brazilian philosopher and educator who has provided a sound foundation in the field of education. When he was child, he got an opportunity to touch the heart of poor class of people. While playing with the children from poor class of people, he came to construct an educational viewpoint that how social class is playing a crucial role in the society to deprive them from getting education. Experiencing from this reality, he proposed a model for pedagogy entitled Pedagogy of the Oppressed which has opened a broad horizon with a new relationship between teacher, student and a society. His Education for Critical Consciousness metaphorically suggests to cultivate conscientization through education to end the ‘culture of silence’ in which the socially dispossessed internalize the negative images of themselves created and propagated by the oppressor in situations of extreme poverty.
Society in Transition
Human being possesses the characteristics of dynamism comprising the quality of their temporality. Society, therefore, endeavors to move from one epoch to another when the old one starts losing the substance and significance of theme. This means, in the transition phase, theme of the past epoch is exhausted to lose its validity and relevancy and tries to seek for its survival while the new epoch is gaining its substance and relevance.
Society acknowledges the new theme not because of novelty but because of the rationality of the theme. However, it is interesting to note that in the name of adopting the new theme, it doesn’t entirely ignore the old society; rather it possesses the aspects of prolonging and conserving the old society at the same time that it extends forward into the new society.
Scenario of Nepalese Society in Transition
After throwing the Rana regime, there was the establishment of democracy in 1950 in Nepal. But, the power of the government was still not distributed among the citizens. Instead, later in 1960, King Mahendra did royal coup using his emergency powers and took charge of the State blaming that the Congress government had fostered corruption, promoted party above national interest, failed to maintain law and order and he declared the partyless Panchayati system. It was a singular system run by the central power structure. People were deprived of getting basic human rights and freedom.
People, in such stance, wanted to have at least basic rights i.e. freedom which Freire defines as a dynamic entity rooted in the historical process by which the oppressed struggle unremittingly to extrovert the slave consciousness which oppressors have introjected into the deepest recesses of their being. They were becoming aware as they were being literate towards their rights and eventually capable of throwing the theme of the old epoch i.e. the Panchayat system in search of the reinstatement of democracy in 2046 BS.
However, situation of ordinary people were no more than that of spectators as they were expelled from the orbit of enjoying democratic practice since the power was in the hand of ‘elite’ which Friere calls ‘tragedy of human being’. The demand of the theme entailing ‘nationalism, democracy and livelihood’ was the cause of the Maoist insurgency in 1996. Freire claims that the normal role of human being in and with the world is not a passive one because they are not limited to the natural sphere but participate in the creative dimension as well; men can intervene in reality in order to change it. Abolition of monarchy in 2008 and establishment of federal republic is the result of it.
Unfortunately, the socio-economic life of ordinary people was the same as before although different movements took place in the state. The movements gave birth to ‘neo-elite’ group who became more powerful and started dominating people manipulating different myths and ‘massifying’ them. However, dim voice is heard regarding equal rights, dignity and identity of marginalized group of people which indicates their initial phase of their critical consciousness.
By means of different movements that took place in the state, we can see the positive socio-cultural transformation in Nepalese society. Success in throwing different social evils like untouchability, gender discrimination, witch, racism etc. and establishing the equality, inclusivity are the example of positive transformation. However, there is still the practice of bad evils like dowry system, Chhaupadi Pratha in our society. Such bad evils reveal the reality that girls in some of the society in our country are still treated as ‘object’ which Freire calls ‘dehumanazation’. Further, there are some groups of people who have been left from the main stream whose life is miserable. In such case, they are to be brought into Freire’s ‘dialogical frame’ so as to conscientize them to ‘come upon tomorrow’ being human.
Educational Practice and Solution
In context of Nepal, there is still the practice of imposing knowledge to the learners which Freire calls ‘banking approach’. Such practice silences our learners’ culture of cultivating knowledge. It is the process of indoctrination. What Freire suggests is that the procedure of educating our learners it to enhance their critical consciousness. In other words, in our schools, there is still the practice of oppressed education. There should be the practice of problem posing education which empowers learners to alter their relation with the world. The way we teach our learners should empower them to link knowledge with their life so as to take action to transform their life and society.
After the examination of Nepalese society, conclusion can be drawn that we are still in the transition phase of giving up closed society which Freire describes as backward, illiterate, anti-dialogical, elitist domination, controlled by externalities, lacking sense of selfhood/nationhood and we are in process of acknowledging the open society which is autonomous, participatory, dialogical, critically aware towards self and surroundings, creating the meaning of self independently, recognizing themes and the tasks of the time and transformation. But, it is a mandatory requirement of being radical rather than ‘sectarianism’ to be critical consciousness which is possible through ‘problem posing pedagogy’, an educational model prescribed by Freire.
Freire, P. (2005). Education for Critical Consciousness. London: Continuum.