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Educational Freedom – Myth or Reality?

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Say, you want to be a musician. Would you rather spend your time learning calculus or mastering your instrument? Learners often don’t have an option between the two and have to balance between the two. Educational freedom changes the ball game by giving you options.

Understanding Educational Freedom

Educational freedom is the right to make educational choices without the State’s interference. It involves parents and children being able to choose their education based on their views as well as perceptions. With 155 of 195 countries recognizing the right to basic education legally, it is becoming something of a globally accepted concept.

However, educational freedom involves a little more than just access to education. Educational freedom means that faculty have more accountability, and students get to explore their views without being influenced by the perspective of the faculty or institution. It also means that there isn’t much direct interference from the government or any other external facilities.

Educational Freedom vs Right to Education

Although easy to confuse, there is quite a difference between ‘Right to Education’ and ‘Educational Freedom’. While the former is more of recognizing education as a necessary service, the latter focuses more on what the term education constitutes.

Most education systems take on a one-size-fits-all approach. The issue with this is there are different types of learners and learning styles. Having a standardized approach, therefore, can be a hassle than it is useful. These systems don’t necessarily encourage questioning in classrooms. Instead, they try to motivate students towards increasing academic scores.

The assumption that all children must be interested to learn all courses offered is another issue with mandatory imposition of specific syllabi. It is important for younger minds to be exposed to wider subjects to explore their interests. Moreover, this approach may not be productive for slightly older learners. Imposing subjects that learners are not keen towards could potentially undermine their actual interests and bore them.

Therefore, it is safe to say that education is in dire need of liberation.

Benefits and Components

Freedom of education involves classes that aren’t mandatory. There are no compulsions on mandatory subjects or levels of attendance. Instead, parents understand their natural inclination and support them. Education has more impact when children aren’t learning something specific out of parental pressure.

The benefits of academic freedom extend beyond just for the professors, students, and institutions. The society also benefits from broader perspectives and improved innovations. It cultivates creative thinking and helps students to express views that they may disagree with. Faculty get to pick which teaching methods they find most effective. In turn, students are able to understand in order to draw their own conclusions 

Current Scenario of Educational Freedom

Global Public Policy Institute index on educational freedom
Global Public Policy Institute (GPPi)

This Global Public Policy Institute (GPPi) index shows countries in North America, Armenia, and so on, seeing a higher educational freedom index. On the other hand, China and the UAE rank lower in the educational freedom index. The index clearly shows the need for more freedom in education across the world.

Conclusion

Human beings are quite similar anatomically. However, when it comes to learning capabilities, the differences are apparent. As such, we need an education system that can cater to different learners and learning styles. Educational freedom plays an important role here. The more freedom of choice learners have, the better they can design their future. So, a musician need not learn string theory and can focus on music theory.

Additional resources: 

https://www.insidehighered.com/views/2010/12/21/defining-academic-freedom

https://www.google.co.in/books/edition/Educational_Freedom_in_Eastern_Europe/hj2SNOyH9QIC?hl=en&gbpv=0

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