THE SOUL OF A DEMOCRACY

Democracy means different things to different people. Innumerable definitions come to mind. Each definition conveys a different shade of meaning which carries the sentiments and emotions of the person defining it. The very word ‘democracy’ displays an emotive tone.

My definition of democracy implies every citizen having the freedom to choose what he considers the best actions for his own benefits. The citizen (being a member of the state) is entitled to such a choice within the framework of a truly democratic nation. Of course, in a democracy, each citizen should not impose his beliefs upon the majority as and when he likes. In the same vein, the state should not impose its set of beliefs upon the masses as and when it pleases. A compromise should be reached for the benefit of the community at large.

The sort of freedom that I propound is freedom with restrictions. They are restrictions which are necessary for the individual and community. These restrictions enable society to progress in a respectable and proper fashion encompassing the physical, mental, spiritual and economic spheres. In the absence of these restrictions, anarchy is the outcome. When a state imposes too many restrictions on the educational system of the nation (without just causes), it spells trouble for the community at large.

Naturally, the individual’s ability to exercise his latent powers for the greater good of society through the means of a good educational system becomes stifled. Suppression of an individual’s intelligence and thinking capabilities by the state authorities renders the individual as a compliant and submissive citizen. This suppression is carried out by the state in its totality via the educational system of the country. Impressionable young minds are moulded or distorted at the whims and fancies of those in political power. It is via the educational system that the state unleashes its propaganda on the citizen in a subtle but destructive manner. The policy of ‘divide and rule’ rears its ugly head the most in the educational system of the country that practices autocratic rule. However, a state that practises democratic rule encourages and promotes the well-being of its citizens in every aspect.

Some governments adopt a policy of laissez-faire in the running of their economy. Can a government adopt a policy of ‘laissez-faire’ in its educational system? In a ‘laissez-faire educational system’, some members of the state decide and implement an educational system that will benefit their offspring in the long run. Wouldn’t this type of policy be beneficial to society at large? Shouldn’t any government which proclaims itself as a guardian and promoter of democracy implement this type of policy in its educational system?

As mentioned earlier, freedom without restrictions can be anarchical to society. Instead of encroachment, a government assumes the role of a ‘supervisor’ as and when needed. As a ‘supervisor’, the government undertakes to support in any means possible the advancement of an educational system which empowers its citizens wholly. In this role, it too will be seen with less suspicion as regards the educational system. Yet, intervention by the state can be welcomed in certain spheres which affect the country as a whole.

Continued progress in the economic field can only be maintained via a democratic educational system. All the natural resources of a nation cannot be exploited fully without the intelligence and skill possessed by its human resources. A skilled and talented workforce is the product of a good educational system. Mediocre standards in an educational system churn out graduates without quality. When quality is compromised, you get educated barbarians running the affairs of the country. Nothing can be more detrimental to the economy of a country when such people take charge of it. Investors take cognizance of a country’s human resources before investing. As the world economy becomes more competitive, countries have to vie for investments to remain relevant economically in the global arena. An economically strong nation is a productive nation.

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