Is Education a prerequisite for Democracy? Part I
Madhu S
Is Education a prerequisite for Democracy? Part I Download as PDF
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The process of democracy had its foundations on the people as manifestly predicated by Abraham Lincoln. The process of democratization transcended boundaries after the aftermath of the two World Wars and raised itself from the clutches of the belligerent and the insidious in the Black nations. The pogroms and massive depredations led to the call of democracy defying the autocracy and the dictatorship. Democracy was more a fallout of the falling dictatorship or monarchy and in its various forms coincided in revolutions. The revolution for democracy developed sui generis and weaned away the obstacles present before it. But later, the main difficulty that arose was to transform such an establishment into a mature one as to achieve its highly deliberated and intended goals. It paved way for the state centric democratization process with the power over its citizens vested in itself. Those states which failed to uphold or support the process gradually withered away.

The institutions of democracy and education necessarily co-exist and require a simultaneous process for their survival. The democratization of education is a precursor of growth and an inventory of the state. Both the institutions aim at providing service to the people and indoctrinated Utilitarianism of Jeremy Bentham. Democracy leaned on education for concretizing its foundation. Without the presence and involvement of an educated society, democracy found itself difficult to subsist. Many upcoming democratic states fell due to the poor awareness of the democratization process as a result of the uneducated masses and drowned away to autocracy belying the aspirations of its people. Thus an educated mass is a necessity for a successful democracy.

Proponents like John Dewy had aptly provided the corollary of education vis-a-vis democracy. Education is, he argued, to promote democracy both because it enables a "culture of democracy" to develop, and because it leads to greater prosperity, which is also thought to cause political development. He traces the juxtaposition of education and democracy in the modernization theory propounded by Seymour Martin Lipset, which emphasizes the role of education as well as economic growth in promoting political development in general and democracy in particular. In his words: "Education presumably broadens men's outlooks, enables them to understand the need for norms of tolerance, restrains them from adhering to extremist and monistic doctrines, and increases their capacity to make rational electoral choices. If we cannot say that a "high" level of education is a sufficient condition for democracy, the available evidence does suggest that it comes close to being a necessary condition." But interestingly both of the think tanks have summarized with statistical and mathematical certainty that there is no evidentiary value for the proposition that an increase in the percentage of educated in total population leads to strengthening the process of democracy. However education has a large role to play in the democratization, though it is difficult to extricate it from other factors which contribute to the process. Democracy will fail or is hard to exist without the arm of education and is considered to be a pillar instrumental in achieving the goals of democracy.

Indian Constitution and Education

We the People of India have solemnly affirmed and created the institutions of democracy for the benefit of ourselves, is a statement used by the Preamble to the Indian Constitution. The underlying principle of democracy where people are the sovereign is embedded in the Constitutional document considered as the mother of all laws or described in apt words by Kelsen as the Grundnorm (die grundnorm). The Constitution is the source of power to the institutions created under it. We can rely on the Constitution in case of any instances of usurping power and invalidate it as violative of the basic norm. Though Kelsen's theory does not recognize the concept of legal rights and duties as such but rather as legal rules , we can affirm this proposition by saying that constitution itself is a hierarchy of legal rules. Thus any decision, be it a policy decision on Education should trace its validity to the Constitution. Similarly the guaranteeing of the Right to Education validated by the Constitution has been in conformity with the underlying principles.

To be continued...

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