Brazilian educationist Paulo Friere had criticised the traditional definition of teaching as a ‘banking model’ that treats the student and teacher as two separate entities. The teacher is perceived as the sole proprietor of knowledge who periodically deposits snippets of information into the minds of the student, like a ‘piggy bank’.

His argument for empowering students as co-creators of knowledge was highlighted by social critic and chairman of the Kerala Education Samithi, Ninan Koshy, during a discussion on the recommendations made by the P.K. Abdul Aziz committee.

Delivering the inaugural address at the meeting convened by the Kerala Sasthra Sahitya Parishad at the Teacher’s Bhavan here on Friday, Dr. Koshy criticised the report as being contradictory to such principles that envisage a better education system.

The committee was formed in a bid to revamp the existing school curriculum which is based on the Kerala Curriculum Framework (KSF). Dr. Ninan describing the report as ‘regressive’ and another example of the government’s corporatisation agenda.

This was a recurring line of thought during the session that the government’s policies were cloaked in democratic ideals supposedly for the greater good but in fact, they really served the vested interests of a minority. Even the West was waking up to the prospects of ‘universalisation’ of education, evident through initiatives such as the ‘Defend Public Education Campaign’ in the United States, Dr. Koshy said.

Aside from undermining the position of the learner in the equation, the recommendations have made no effort to mend the frayed relations between society and classrooms. “Children are growing increasingly unaware of the world beyond their school walls. The social, political and cultural relevance in curriculum is vanishing and this gravely affects the role of school systems in moulding sensitive, well-rounded human beings,” said the renowned educationist.

He also drew attention to the multitude of curricula present in the country that invariably led to further fragmentation of society.

The seminar featured prominent persons in the field including P.V. Purushothaman, T.P. Kaladharan and K.N. Ganesh. C.P. Narayanan, MP, presided over the function.