Tuesday, 6 April 2004

The Purpose of Education

i picked up an old copy of Time Magazine dated Sep 11, 2002 today and on the cover was a montage of pictures and a row of text that simply read "9/11 One Year Later"

Expecting to find little else besides the special report on the Sep 11 incident, I was hence surprised to find a four-page article in the magazine on Unit 731 - the notorious biological and chemical warfare experiment lab used by the Japanese imperial army during the Second World War.

for those old enough to have caught a documentary movie several years ago of the same name ("Unit 731"), you will be familiar with the horrors of this so-called research centre, used during WWII, where Japanese scientists conducted cruel and sadistic experiments on Chinese POWs and civilians for some 13 years until they were forced to surrender in 1945. Hapless victims were frozen alive to research frostbite, burnt alive to study on human combustion, stuck into vacuum chambers until their bellies exploded, infected with plague, anthrax and cholera viruses and germs, and subjected to vivisection without anesthesia. Some even had their hearts cut out while they were fully alive. Even though i was quite young when i watched the movie with my parents, these images were indelibly and vividly etched in my mind..

many questions came to my mind at that time, and with the reading of this article, they once again resurfaced in my consciousness..

can people really be so evil?

does human evilness have any limits?

most importantly, after years of so-called "civilisation", is mankind any "better" than before? or worse?

in my radial ponderings, i started surfing the net for what is the TRUE purpose of education... after all, if this is what I am supposed to be working on at this point in my life, I should at least know there is a deeper aim (or maybe even divine purpose) to why I chose or have been chosen for this profession and not anything else...

and rather pleasantly, I chanced upon this in The Seattle Times: Martin Luther King Jr.: "The Purpose of Education "

Education must also train one for quick, resolute and effective thinking. To think incisively and to think for one's self is very difficult. We are prone to let our mental life become invaded by legions of half truths, prejudices, and propaganda...

We must remember that intelligence is not enough. Intelligence plus character--that is the goal of true education. The complete education gives one not only power of concentration, but worthy objectives upon which to concentrate. The broad education will, therefore, transmit to one not only the accumulated knowledge of the race but also the accumulated experience of social living.

If we are not careful, our colleges will produce a group of close-minded, unscientific, illogical propagandists, consumed with immoral acts. Be careful, "brethren!" Be careful, teachers!

So true! Education for the purpose of developing a mind able to think on its own and a moral character able to stand for what is right.

with so much priority given to academic achievement compared to everything else in most schools now (a sad situation considering all that is being done and proposed at the governmental level to correct this), there is certainly room for worry... a developed society that is morally and socially lacking... what's the point, eh?

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