Thinking Beyond Schooling

This is our response to a blog post by Christopher Teh

My motivation to teach my own stems less on how broken our education system is (although that is definitely one of the main reasons) but more on what it does to the family system and to our value system – which are rapidly breaking down like pieces of dominoes falling on one another, known as the domino effect – through its systemic breaking down of the power of individuality. When the family system is no longer intact due to the various interventions in daily scheduling, mental manipulations and the devaluation of family values, what we get is less of a truly educated nation, but of a nation painfully divided, with its young, shockingly lost!

It is imperative that every parent, every educator and every citizen sees this in its macro as well it’s micro effect on the individual, the family and the society. Everything that occurs in our lives – from the problems our children face everyday to the stresses of daily living and working; from the problems of indiscipline in schools to the rising crime rate in our country; from the growing selfishness of ordinary citizens to the lackadaisical attitudes of our elected or self-appointed leaders who, once upon a time ago, were referred to as the civil servants of the people, which, most unfortunately, has now been totally reversed – these are all interconnected issues that require great clarity of thought and deep understanding of human values and their important roles in the shaping of a complete human being.

We need to ask ourselves this important question: what is the value and purpose of education? If the value of education is measured by the profits to be gained and the purpose of education is merely to fulfill the needs of employment, we are not seeing the complete picture. Because education is more noble than that. It is a means for personal and spiritual development. It is a vital path for human salvation. It is the needed nectar for human enlightenment!

But the continual utilization and internalization of the century-old broken factory system of mass education is now evidently and clearly seen as grossly inadequate for the valuable and much needed enhancement and development of the human minds. But in terms of the economic advancement in educational businesses, we are seeing great progress here! Business has never been better, with schools of international stature suddenly dotting every major cities in the country. Private colleges are built bigger and better, resembling high class malls with branded boutiques and posh restaurants! The waiting lists into such exclusive clubs are long indeed. But there is nothing that money cannot buy. Education today has become an exclusive club for the rich. And hence, the consumerism and indoctrination of the masses begins – catch them young and they will be life-long consumers – of the material and immaterial, of crooked ideologies and of false utopia.

So who shall we turn to for the salvation of our children? The schools – the factory for robotic workers? The ministry of education – the builders and shapers of political slaves? The government – the entity that solves problems by giving out free money?

My motivation in writing my book, Learning Beyond Schooling, was not to supply every answer to every problem that we are encountering with the sad state of education in our country. It was intended for parents to ask the right questions on education, to think deeper about issues that confront the family, and to explore alternative paths of education that empower, rather than disempower, the learner, the family and the community. Many of the so-called “important omissions” were intentional, not an oversight. It was NOT intended as a convincing argument for homeschooling. It was merely an admonishment for parents to think outside the schooling boundaries and an attempt to show that there are choices to be made if the preservation of the family unit and the wholesome education of our young are in place. It was a small prelude to a much bigger symphony in which parents and children are instrumentalists in an orchestra of purposeful learning, climaxing in the liberating notes of meaningful living, and closing with the cadences of the enlightened mind!

Yes, there are many questions unanswered, methodologies unmentioned, and depth of discussion about homeschooling lacking. This is because the book is NOT about homeschooling. Yes, examples of homeschooling families are given, but this is to show that parents who dare to take the path less taken in their children’s education often reap the bountiful rewards of the seeds lovingly sowed. Because ultimately, the bigger picture of life is not about schooling and not schooling. It is about finding happiness in life doing what makes one happy, without adding to the existing problems confronting our society, but instead, contributing positively to the general happiness and well-being of our world.

If one feels frustration from reading the book, it is a good sign. Because it shows the agitated frustrations of parents. But to overlook the most important point of the book can be fatal – that of hope and resurrection. Because if we do not believe in the salvation of our children, if we do not have faith in our good selves to make the right choices, if we do not make the vital changes in our mind sets and lifestyles, we would have missed the boat that carries us from our sea of suffering to the banks of utopia!

Keep on seeking and you shall find.
Keep on questioning and you shall realize.
But only when you stop doubting, shall you see!

Chong Wai Leng
Author of Learning Beyond Schooling



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