Archive for August, 2012

Before the invasion of European imperialists in African countries, education was the effort of local community elders who responsibly passed down indigenous knowledge and traditions to young boys and girls for their later roles in their own communities. Indigenous or traditional knowledge is the only and essential source of wisdoms that is highly relevant to the existence and continuation of socio-economic as well as cultural life of every society in the world. Their legitimacy can be noted from another important fact that is the increasing failure in educational policy goals to create educational and social development in African and other societies in this era of globalization and neocolonialism.

When European imperialists came, with the power of gun powder and high imperialist notion of racial superiority and liberalism, degraded indigenous institutions in their colonies. The European education policy for their colonies seeing the main function of education as secular and functional, neither moral nor conservative, became essential for being the ladder to advancement in the modern institutional hierarchy adopted in the colonial society, in  administration, law or commerce and of course, it just benefitted the running of the colonial rule. Thus schooling was no longer about traditional knowledge and rituals. Instead, it eliminates or attempts to make them seem inferior. Modern schooling trains young people to compete with their counterparts all over the world, such as Asia, Africa and Europe, in global economy and social aspirations. This interconnectedness and unstable nature of global events has given rise to unemployment problem, education and social development gaps as well as poverty and vulnerability of people.

Thal Sandy Tun

A Matter of Choice

Posted: August 16, 2012 by phermc10 in Personal reflection

As governments decide themselves to adopt an education of which curriculum is filled with western industrialideas, children and youth are trained to become industrial workforce instead of caretakers of local cultural values. Young people move into urban areas where industrial development exists, and as these industries are operating based on the highly competitive global economy on which they have little knowledge or control, they are very vulnerable to unemployment as well as loss of identity and self-esteem. The difference lies in the assimilation of community involvement in the education system which can make a difference for their survival.

What this western education does without being noticed is it degenerates local traditions and way of life from one generation to the next. The curriculum is copied from other industrial countries as it is easier to copy than invent one’s own. Therefore, these curriculums lack the kind of knowledge and values that regional and local communities need to hand down and survive. Then local neighborhoods are soon destroyed with pollution from industries in cities. Old people are left without any relatives to take care of them as the education causes out migration of their off springs.

How many parents are there like Mabo’s mother who wants her son to work in industries? Of course this is a trend with young people today in search of an education and a job. Yet take some time to think what your future will become. You will be stuck in a desk with a computer. You get home late and do not have a word with your children for a week who are also distracted in a virtual world. You switch on TV and watch the news of natural disasters around the world without feeling anything about the victims as they become so frequent. Before you go to bed and sleep, you call your parents living in your hometown to say decencies and good night. What a boring, routinized and robotic life it must be!

Thal Sandy Tun

Two Kinds of Knowledge

Posted: August 9, 2012 by phermc10 in Film Critique(Evaluative Analysis)


Western education mainly trains young people to become applicable for industries which concentrate in urban areas. Many young people from rural areas move to cities in order to work in those industries, leaving traditional livelihoods of their own communities behind. From that increasing urbanization, there are many problems facing cities today such as traffic congestion, air pollution, sanitation, waste disposal, overcrowding and crimes.

The decay of traditional livelihoods along with disruption to social adhesion is something to think about in terms of familial values, lineage, mutual respect and guardianship. Many young people are moving away from their root as they graduate and plunge into corporate world. Very few think of returning to their original neighborhoods. There are two reasons for this: the first one is that they think they are no longer fit into working in the local environment because of the study they pursue at universities which is mainly for working in a multinational company and the second one is that they do not know how to contribute to the preservation of local community which largely lacks in their curriculum.

Therefore, in light of the film, we have to do something about school curriculums in order to find a balance between modern western knowledge and traditional local knowledge which can guide us towards achieving a community of young and old people living sustainably on their own land.  We should not forget that sustainability is not just about the environment; it is also about the systems and peoples’ desires on which our societies are built upon.

Thal Sandy Tun