The Freedom of Education
Education is freedom. At the heart of education, the individual decides what is most important. It is acquiring the ability to think and prospectively evaluate one’s self and the world around them. It should provide minds with opportunity and knowledge. Education is an individual journey that, daily, challenges opinions, expands the mind’s capacity, and encourages pursuit of individual desires. It is a journey that an individual has the freedom to make and the freedom to find its moral purpose.
An education can be found anywhere. Many seek out school as a clear and accessible segway into the depths of education. What needs to be clearly understood is that education and “schooling” are not interchangeable. It is the ability and complexity of thinking that is able to be achieved through learning, knowledge, and experience/ exposure, whether that be found in a formal classroom setting or not. In The Autobiography of Malcolm X, Malcolm never progressed very far in typical public schooling. He was forced to observe and learn from the mistakes and successes of those he was enveloped with in his everyday life. While loosely residing in Harlem, Malcolm tested and became a part of the hustler life by being educated by what he was told and what he witnessed of others. This allowed for him to thrive in the life he came to know best. Whether the lifestyle he led was beneficial or harmful to society, nevertheless, he was educated. Education, under many circumstances, becomes very bias based on the sources of information. Malcolm X grew up hating his own culture and ethnic background due to the power the white man had over defining his views for him, until he exposed himself to a world where black lives carried significance. He began to educate himself of the monstrosity of the white man’s views that were engraved in his brain. He developed his own opinions and located information that directed his thinking. His education began to deny the ethics of white society. It is something that an individual has the freedom to mold and has the power to diverge their thinking to what is important to them. Education has different purposes in everyone’s life, it is how one chooses to take advantage of it that defines their achievements.
In some parts of the world, an individual education is nothing more than a fantasy. This liberty is not fully guaranteed to all, which is why citizens of the U.S. should be so grateful for having the privilege of education that not everyone has access to. In much of the Arab world, education is dictated through school. Censorship is very prevalent and the ideas of students are bound by strict religious beliefs or ideals of tyrannical rule. There is little to no freedom as to how they approach their learning. The zeal for critical thinking and analysis is there, and for a select few individuals, that is enough to become self educated, but for the majority, this restriction deprives them of pursuing what fuels and stimulates their minds. Everyday that you are provided with the freedom to be educated, grasp hold of it and seek out opportunity to gain insight to the world around you.
“With great power comes great responsibility”. Well, with great freedom comes great accountability. In order to justify your right to this gift of education, you must be held responsible for your ideas. You need to support where your arguments and where the ideas come from. Your education is unique to you, and you should want to take ownership and pride in your knowledge. By being accountable for education, your brain is forced to be used efficiently. It takes reflection and critical thinking in order to justify what you have learned over the course of your individual journey.
As a teenager in high school, I am exposed to the molds of direction but coupled with a sense of choice to possess my own opinions and interests. Curriculums are set and the teacher directs the work and thinking of the twenty kids seated in the room. Despite my, many times, disinterest in the work that I am doing or being taught, some of it is essential to further my learning. It is the basis that allows me to seek extended information and know of proper resources and methods of doing that. Without the formal, done by the book, education, there would be no starting point of the development of our minds. Schools are needed to serve as the kick start of our individual journey of our education. But, it does not stop there. The significant part of education is the process after being fed all this information, and how it is developed and further understood in relation to your personal life. At this point, the power has been placed in my own hands. I have the choice of deciding to take my education to new levels of thinking by diverging my ideas into the context of my life.
Many times, in the chaos known as life, I take for granted the privilege of education. I sometimes see it as a cumbersome task that does nothing more than complicate life. Despite this, the latter is true. Education is not a straight line with a beginning and an end. That is what broadens you to the infinite ends of your journey. It gives you so much more perspective and brings significance to minute little things. I am fortunate enough to have the liberty to make the most of education. It is what will provide me with the ability to effectively evaluate myself and the world around me, and I will be better equipped to benefit and improve both.