EDUCATION FOR LIFE
Simón Rodríguez was one of the first teachers to preach the advantages of popular education. He also spoke of “education for life.” Referring to this topic, he said: “It is good that young people learn science, that they study languages, literature, legislation, physics, botany; But there is one more important thing that must come first: living in a republic.” Undoubtedly the subject can be analysed from different points of view, since it has many meanings. In any case, it is sad to see that, after so long, education in Venezuela is still not conceived in this way.
As far as education is concerned, parents leave significant footprints on their children: they create foundations that are later consolidated in school and university. However, it happens that in many cases, either due to ignorance or for any other reason, the proper foundations do not exist or are not created.
So what can be expected of young people whose parents, by their example, do not instill values in their children? What can be expected of them if in schools they fill their heads with knowledge that does not enable themto fulfill themselves as a people? What if the environment cultivates the idea that only the savvy and the profiteers take advantage of life?
Does it help to talk about Rodríguez’s revolutionary ideas?
As Rodríguez said: it is more important to know how to function in life as an honest man who has a clear conscience than to be an eminent professional from whose head only scientific knowledge can be elicited. It’s not about a man knowing or not knowing everything related to his profession but that, apart from this, he possesses moral and ethical values. It is useless for a doctor to be good if he lacks humanity with his patients, if he wants to exploit the community with unjustified and exorbitant prices.
It is useless for a man to have great talents as a politician if his attitude and his example reflect injustice and corruption, if he takes advantage of his position to give the people the narrow part of the funnel and himself the wide. It is no use for a man to be a lawyer if he defends clients knowing that they are guilty, using dubious means.
Miguel de Montaigne said, about education and life, “It is better to have a head in its place than a head full of knowledge.”
It is more important for a man to know how to think, to be able to take advantage of the little — or the much — that he learns in his life, than to live life in an eternal simulacrum based on values that are less than the noblest on the planet.