okuma - EDUCATION, SOCIAL SUSTAINABILITY, AND GROSS...

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EDUCATION, SOCIAL SUSTAINABILITY, AND GROSS NATIONAL HAPPINESS: TOWARDS A PARADIGM SHIFT M. Kiwako Okuma-Nyström, Institute of International Education, Department of Education, Stockholm University, Sweden Michiyo.Kiwako.Okuma@interped.su.se Center for Pacific Asia Studies, Institute of Oriental Language, Stockholm University, Sweden kiwako@orient.su.se Theme: Social Transformation Research domain: Education ABSTRACT Socialization is the lifelong process through which a person becomes a respected member of the society where he or she lives. Thus, socialization is a crucial process for sustainability of the society. School education occupies some space in the process of socialization, but there are phenomena that school education disturbs socialization of children and youths, and eventually social sustainability. This paper problematizes some aspects of school education, and suggests to develop new indicators of school education, so that school education can contribute to healthy socialization, social sustainability, and Gross National Happiness. INTRODUCTION Gross National Happiness (GNH) is a concept that silently challenges the indicator of GNP/GDP that has been used to measure the degree of development of countries. The GNP/GDP myth has been conditioning many aspects of the society, of which school education is one. The modern school system has the characteristic that children are gathered at a place called “school”, and are grouped into different grades according to their age. Schools in the modern system are often separated from surrounding social environments by walls or some kinds of physical barriers. School is a place where students are supposed to use identical textbooks, where students’ knowledge is measured in various ways, and where students are ranked based on several criteria. The modern school system has been the state apparatus that is closely linked to the state development [8]. For example, there are various examples of state-run school education that served an establishment of national identity and language. Tsurumi [48] states that there are always people who believe that the state has the right to control the school education. On the other hand, the state control on the school education has been criticized, and such a criticism is one of the reasons why decentralization of school education has been implemented in many countries in the world. However, decentralization has created many other educational problems as well [see 11]. The school system as an apparatus of the state (or the sub-systems such as the province) can create various problems regardless of the form of the system. However, one fundamental aspect that is found in common in various problems is that the ultimate goal of education is lost. Needless to say, the ultimate goal of any kind of education must be human development and human happiness, which in turn contributes to social sustainability. However, in reality, it is a kind of quasi-goals or instrumental goals
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okuma - EDUCATION, SOCIAL SUSTAINABILITY, AND GROSS...

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