This week’s addition to the Sunday Reading list is an anthology titled ‘What is Education?’. Written by a group of students from Denmark with the support of the Danish Youth Council, the anthology attempts to ask the critical questions about Education today. To do this, the writers approach education from the standpoint of their own specializations such as educational studies, philosophy, psychoanalysis, sociology and philology.
The editors of the book are all students at the University of Copenhagen or European Graduate School. The book has been conceived on the basis of their experiences with university politics and activism and years of study at these two very different educational institutions.
The anthology contains contributions from: Henrik Jøker Bjerre, Steen Nepper Larsen, Christopher Fynsk, Siegfried Zielinski, Kirsten Hyldgaard, Mladen Dolar, Wendy Brown, Steen Ebbesen and Elie During.
The book is free of charge and available online for generating discussion and exploring the FAQs of Education as it exists today.
So what is said of education today? It might be hailed as a human right, thought of as a means against poverty and inequality; it might be considered an answer to market demands, a producer of workforce, consumers and citizens; or it might be defined simply in accordance with a quantifiable measure. Answers such as these are presented to us by governments and administrators of education. What they all have in common, however, is that they only value education in instrumental terms, as a practical means to an end. They do not judge education on its own terms — as an institution of insight, learning and knowledge — and thus they do not provide an answer to the question of education itself.
In these times where education is not merely a pastime of the privileged few, but a necessary means to ensure one’s livelihood, and where institutional autonomy too often only means becoming enslaved by commercial or private interests, the old dream of strong educational institutions unregulated by private or political influences is severely challenged. Thus perhaps, we face the same questions Plato and Socrates did when challenged by the Sophists of their time, and like them, we must ask ourselves: how can true insight be found? Can true knowledge be bought and institutionalized or, rather, must it be found in a community of real friends, lovers and rivals of knowledge itself?
You can download the full book from this link: http://www.whatiseducation.net
They are available on social media here.