There is in England today a debate on what they call a cultural war in teaching British history. British slave ownership, 800,000 Africans who were legally owned, were freed by the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833.
This history has raised a new debate new culture war in Britain today. Two years ago there was this agitation and we in India must know there is always one agitation or other against mostly many human rights violations. A recent one being the “Black lives matter” when many statues of historic figures are defaced or why even removed violently, graffiti was thrown at these statues.
What is this culture war or wars?
For a long time, the British had a very disreputable history of the slave trade. Britain is a very museum-conscious country with 15 taxpayers paid big museums and galleries. One big museum is the 268- year old British Museum. It is now all about the slave trade-related statues, Britain has a shameful past, the slave trade was a long-hidden historic black past, they now call it historic heritage!
The world has now changed, people are becoming sensitive to human rights and violations of other historic pasts. Today, the USA too is drawn into this international human rights awareness and hence this current fervour in Britain. After the Brexit, Britain’s influence is now shrunk in size is no more a country called Great Britain, it is now a little England!
What the current attitudes show is, the Indian people. are included that we are the children of colonial history, either as perpetrators or victims. Says a new columnist in the London Financial Times, Sir Antony Gormley, the much-acclaimed. British sculptor and a former trustee of the British Museum, ”We are not going to solve it by hiding evidence of its inequity or its other injustices.”
A statue of Cecil Rhodes a colonial slave trader himself and much more, the famed diamond traders and the creator of the African country Rhodesia and donor to spread British imperialism including the famous scholarships, Rhodes scholarships. There is a long-pending agitation.
In Oxford’s Oriel College there is a Rhodes statue in front of the College which, the agitators demand to turn it facing the College walls! All these recent events point to one moral for Indian education and Indian educators.
We in India are not agitated by any such events and controversies. Our education is still modelled by the Colonial Curriculum. Every year. Some two lakh graduate students travel to the UK.
For higher education, Another two lakhs from China to go to the UK, another a few lakhs for travel to Australia, Canada and other countries. The fee for Indian students, overseas students, all come to nearly Rs.50 lacs per yearWhat are the reasons for this migration?
Not knowledge but jobs abroad! Now, the Indian education scene is very much distorted and corrupted. Education has become a trade and there is no thought of education as nation-building or citizenship-making.
Let us reform the Indian education system and values in a new light
If all the university education is to turn up potential migrants then. Who would be left back in India? The current crop of left-overs, the rejected?
Anyway, the much-needed education reform is to create talents of many kinds. For this objective to reach we need an overhaul of the education syllabus, a new curriculum. That would build up a strong and innovative talent of all kinds. A bold new post-colonial, why even an anti-colonial and an independent new democratic India!