Social Scientist. v 2, no. 13 (Aug 1973) p. 91.

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Review Article

The Educational Thought of Paulo Freire

PAULO FREIRE, PEDAGOGY OF THE OPPRESSED, Herder and Herder, New York 1972, pp 186, $2.95.

OUR educational system is a favourite and easy target of criticism of everyone from the planners to the students. All are agreed that Macaulay is the original sinner, but on the question of redemption there is wide divergence of views. As we do not take the socialist or egalitarian rhetoric of the present ruling elite seriously our criticism is not that the planners have signally failed to effect reforms to suit the requirements of the socialist transformation of our social system. However, we are within our rights to point out that the measures taken by the govenment and the planners in the educational field have fulfilled none of their declared objectives and that the rate of distintegration of the educational system keeps pace with the development of the socio-economic crisis in the country. Despite the announcements of grandiose schemes and declarations of pious intentions it is not difficult to identify a near total despair in the perorations of our educational experts. To justify their reputation and membership of various commissions they periodically come out with criticism, suggestions and reform proposals. By conviction or training they are not inclined to ask the basic socio-political questions regarding the class aims of the educational system. Hence, apart from such eccentric schemes like Basic Education they have nothing to offer other than plans for vocational training, work-oriented education, restrictive admissions, examination reforms and the like.

It is too much to hope that Paulo Freire's educational thought will stimulate the fuddled brains of the decision-makers in the Indian educational field. Freire is too irreverent of the bourgeois establishment everywhere. He is a little too subversive. But all those interested in radicalising our masses through education will find Freire's book strengthening their commitment to the revolution and refreshing their ideas

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