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Photo A Commons Sense

Photo A Commons Sense

Around and about XV

A blog by HOT’s Zelly Restorick and what has crossed her path in the past week.

This morning, I read an email from Global Citizen about ‘education for all’, especially the 58 million girls around the world currently denied a place at primary school – and 62 million adolescents without access to a secondary school.

And my first thoughts were: who’s doing the educating and what’s their agenda with the curriculum? What sort of education will these trusting, open young minds be receiving?

Education, education, education

Ponderings. Is the best education a student can have one that is pupil-led? A place of learning where the individual, of any age, says ‘I’d like to learn about this and this’ rather than being told what to learn, choosing from – what seems to me – to be an incredibly limited range of subjects? Bearing in mind that each pupil is an individual with unique innate talents.

Is the best place of learning one that is free of indoctrination, programming and conditioning? One where students are taught to explore, think for themselves and question, not told to comply and obey, be obsequious in the face of authority and regurgitate the required answers in order to pass a test or exam?

Should teachers be facilitators of learning? Teaching students methods of learning appropriate to their individual style? If students were learning about what they wanted to learn, would they be more engaged? Should teachers and students be equal partners in the learning process as opposed to a system based on hierarchy, discipline and authority?

Links and connections

Photo A Commons Sense

Photo A Commons Sense

Yesterday, I posted a piece on HOT called Food for Thought, a talk organised by Hastings Against War and the Hastings and District Interfaith Forum about sustainable indiginous farming versus commercialised multinational agricultural systems.

Whilst researching this article, I watched a short film called A Commons Sense about how major corporations – especially in America – are patenting seeds, deeply affecting farmers around the world – and how the education systems are being influenced by those with money and personal agendas.

The film is about bio-piracy – ‘the practice of commercially exploiting naturally occurring biochemical or genetic material, especially by obtaining patents that restrict its future use, while failing to pay fair compensation to the community from which it originates’ – is rife and happening right now.

And the connection to education – and who’s sponsoring what’s being taught?

“The reason that so much of what is happening with bio-piracy is not shocking the world, has much to do with the way that these economic institutions have managed to infiltrate our academic and media landscapes, controlling what is taught to our future generations and what is digested by our urban and disconnected populations.” (A Commons Sense)

An example of how the sponsor-funder of the education gets to influence the curriculum and what it taught.

Playing monopoly

Photo A Commons Sense

Photo A Commons Sense

“The US Patent Act clause 102 says that nothing can be patented if it is prior public knowledge. If the public has been aware of the material and its benefits, then it is not possible to patent. Clause 102 then goes on to define ‘public knowledge’ as only that of Americans’ and no one else. Not the billions of Indians, Native Americans or Africans, their knowledge. Their natural resources are not represented or protected by this act.” (A Commons Sense)

“As industrially driven climate change begins to affect the production of food across the world, large corporations like Monsanto, Syngenta and DuPont as well as hundreds of others are racing to patent as many plant genomes as possible in the hope that when the original plant is no longer able to survive, the company will be able to produce a genetic variation to replace the original, only this time the seed will not be self replicating and will not be able to survive without the various chemicals to protect and nourish it. It will be a company seed, a product, a commodity and something to enable corporations to manipulate their supply and demand and ultimately their profit.” (A Commons Sense)

“The reality… is that a huge conflict of interests exists as investment in companies and commodities now fund projects that seem to be modelled more to suit corporate foreign policy than benefit the billions of farmers and marginalized people living in these rural areas.” (A Commons Sense)
A rebel with a cause

Photo A Commons Sense

Dr Debal Deb Photo A Commons Sense

Thankfully, there are individuals around the world choosing to use their brains to rise above this global monopolisation. Dr Debal Deb of The Centre for Interdiscipliniary Studies, for example, “has set up small farms to grow and conserve over 1,000 varieties of indigenous rice, documenting and publishing their characteristics so they can be protected against bio-piracy”.

Huge admiration and respect to those individuals who use their education, their quiet determination and dedication to stand up to the bullies in the playgrounds of their world.

For more information about Dr Debal Deb and The Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies, see their website here.

Link to Zelly’s related HOT article: Food for Thought


Photo A Commons Sense

Photo A Commons Sense


Posted 11:03 Wednesday, Aug 19, 2015 In: The HOT Planet

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