Home Forums Sustainable Island and Communities From 'Third World' to status of a developed nation through Philosophy.

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    Dabee Rajendrakumar

    For many reasons, Mauritius is considered a ‘Third World’ Country. From an economic perspective, Mauritius is struggling to become a high income earning nation. However, increasing investments, exports, state-of-the-art infrastructure and high level of literacy and numeracy amongst others are not the only criteria which determine eligibility to be recognized as ‘Developed’ or ‘Industrialized’. The population’s attitudes towards multiculturalism and environmental issues, the democratic principles and ethical standards it values and adheres to and the political maturity it displays are equally valid benchmarks which determine the level of development of a nation.
    Unfortunately, the following are among indicators which demonstrate that the average the Mauritian still lacks the knowledge, skills and attitudes that can win Mauritius the status of a ‘Developed’ nation:
    1. the reckless behaviour of road-users and the correspondingly high rate of accidents, many with mortality;
    2. the attitude of Mauritians when it comes to politics and religion-where they fall back into casteist, racist, communalist and other xenophobic modes of thought;
    3. the indiscriminate way Mauritians generate and dispose of waste (open-air combustion, indiscriminate garbage dumping, disposal of electronic waste like battery, etc.),
    4. the disordered eating habits which afflict at least half of the population with Non-communicable diseases like Diabetes and hypertension;
    5. the disinterest of young people in the social, economic and political issues of national importance;
    6. the increasing crime rate of both violent (robberies, murder, rape, etc.) and non-violent (corruption, money-laundering, etc.) nature.
    Despite intensive and extensive sensitization campaigns, there is increase, instead of reduction or cessation, of the above. The laisser-aller and laisser-faire type of thinking characteristic of the ‘Third World’ does not seem to leave its grip off the mind of a population conditioned for generations to a particular way of thinking.

    Proposed Solutions
    1. Since it is the thinking pattern or ‘mentality’ of Mauritians that is the cause of the above-mentioned state-of-affairs, the thinking process of individuals need to be addressed in such a way that they think creatively, objectively, free from fear and inhibitions, but above all rationally and ethically. This can happen only if such subjects are taught in schools that facilitate critical thinking, problem solving and conscience building from childhood itself. Philosophy is the subject par excellence which caters for these.
    2. Conversely, the focus of the current Curriculum can be shifted from content-intensive to process-intensive teaching and learning. Instead of learning a body of knowledge and facts in order to succeed in examination and earn a job-earning certificate, subjects being taught to children and young people could be infused with philosophical elements fostering thereby self-reflective and meta-cognitive skills.
    3. Philosophy has been the mother of all subjects. Sciences, languages and Arts all were at one time branches of Philosophy and developed with time into independent areas of research and study. But in so doing, they have lost contact with their roots. Thus, while learning economics, arts, sciences and languages, students can be taught likewise the Philosophy of economics, arts, science and language. This will enable learners to reflect upon the axiological, epistemological, etymological and philological implications of the subject-area apart from its factual and conceptual ones.
    4. Currently, subjects in the Curriculum are compartmentally taught. A subject has little or no interaction with the others, with the result that the connection between them or the need thereof is not perceived by both Educators and students. Philosophy as common denominator can unite under one umbrella all these subjects. Philosophy therefore can encourage trans-disciplinary and inter-disciplinary study of subjects. It is hoped that in the long run students and young people might develop a holistic vision of reality.
    5. Philosophy is currently taught at the MGI and hundreds of young people have graduated since 2002. They represent a powerful resource already at hand and their integration in the education system through teaching of Philosophy can be viewed as a long term solution.
    6. The Tertiary Institutions of the country can create a common platform to devise a Strategic Plan or constitute a Think Tank. Local intelligentsia can be put to contribution in these endeavours to reflect upon strategies and methodologies for the integration, implementation and evaluation of the teaching of Philosophy at all levels of the education system.
    7. For those who are outside the educational stream, thematic discussions, debates, group discussions and forums can be organized so that reflective skills and conscientious thinking can be encouraged. Promotion of publications (on paper, online, in audio and video formats) can create awareness in the public, especially parents. Concurrently adult courses can be offered by Tertiary Institutions like the MGI using distance, blended and/or face-to-face modes of education.
    1. Inclusion of Philosophy can trigger the right momentum which in the years to come may culminate into generations of objectively, independently and creatively thinking individuals capable of initiating a process of change in deep-rooted mindsets, prejudices and stereotypes.
    2. Children and adolescents will grow up into responsible citizens, conscious of their National Identity, aware of local and global issues.
    3. Young Mauritians will show greater concern for issues that matter to them or their future, whether they are political, social, cultural and ecological. They will be more conscious of their health.
    4. Mauritius will have not only a population literate and numerate from an economic or technological angle but also capable of making the right decisions based on uncensored rationalism and sound ethical considerations. With a correct mode of thinking, they will emerge more as problem solvers than makers and a nation of entrepreneurs. Being independent, they will be contributing positively to the progress of the nation.
    5. A generation of individuals in the society will emerge who are endowed with a stronger moral conscience when it comes to doing business, performance of duties, protection of environments, fighting for rights, behaving in a civic and patriotic manner in public spaces.
    6. As a result of the above and their effects, Mauritius will secure world-wide recognition as a ‘developed’ nation.

    • This topic was modified 3 years, 1 month ago by mrcgrand.
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