The Concept of Education

The concept of education has changed from a process of transferring knowledge from the teacher to the student (a ‘banking’ system2), to learning as the construction of knowledge by the student (studentcentred). Education involves the acquisition of knowledge, skills, beliefs, values and the culture of a given society. The contemporary Western un- derstanding of education is as a life-long process of learning that is facilitated in organised ways that include both formal (such as schools and universities) and non-formal settings (such as community environments and the media), as well as in unorganised ways or informal places. However, it should be noted that education is more than vocational training be- cause it is not confined to skills development.

Education is always political and ideological. That is because educational practices do not take place in a vacuum. They reflect the ideologies or worldviews of the dominant groups of a society and are shaped by their values. Education that involves the construction and dissemination of knowledge and values through dialogue is an open system because it allows for the freedom to question, negotiate and relate one’s personal experiences to the learned concepts. On the other hand, a closed system of education is when knowledge is transmitted to learners through practices such as rote learning, which implies indoctrination because there is no opportunity to question or challenge ideas. Although all education is embedded with ideology, the issue here is with violent extremist ideologies as opposed to democratic worldviews. However, from a security perspective, education is like a double-edged sword: it can be used to counter violent extremism as well as promote extremist ideologies.


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