Friday, December 3, 2010

Embedding entertainment with education!

Theories of development have been propounded and debated since the end of the World War II, and more so after the end of the Cold War. This is so because development per se means many things to many people since the emergence of development theories. All theories have emerged in a socio-economic and political environment and no theory is value-free.
During the Cold War, the Soviet Union and other socialist states emphasized socio-economic and cultural development, while the capitalist first world put more emphasis on civil and political rights. This was the global political and idealogical environment that shaped the different theories of development.
Traditional societies were considered backward or underdeveloped for being traditional. Therefore, in order for them to develop, they have to change their traditions which can be done by the introduction of technology in traditional societies. In 1995, Everett Rogers came up with his diffusion of innovation theory, saying that an innovation passes through five sequential stages before it is adopted by a person or society.
But development is a phenomenon that has been in flux--and will remain so in future too--because it changes its meaning from time to time and from culture to culture. It is more akin to Maslow's hierarchy of needs: every society has priorities in terms of development just like in case of their needs. No two societies rank the stages of development the same way.
However, there are no two opinions that education is the mainstay of development. But education in developing countries is stunted by poverty, which itself is the result of lack of education. Thus developing societies are stuck in a vicious circle where ignorance and poverty play a symbiotic role.
The mass media can play a vital role in lifting traditional societies from the rut of poverty and ignorance. To gain attention of the poor, the mass media need to embed entertainment with education to make the latter more attractive. After all education empowers people, and empowerment comes first and then development.
Empowerment enables people to decide for themselves how to develop by finding home-grown solutions to their own problems. There is no single recipe for development because no two cultures are the same. People can decide for themselves how to develop once they are empowered.

1 comment:

  1. This topic shares another interesting relationship with Japan. I actually found, through my time living in Japan, that education didn't necessarily empower anyone, but instead it forced everyone to conform to a certain set of ideas and rules on how to conduct yourself in society and work. The Japanese government standardized all school (elementary through high school) so that all subjects are taught the same way, at the same time throughout Japan. The way in which classes are taught almost forces students to respond and act in harmony with the group, making groupthink a big issue in Japan. I suggest reading Alex Kerr's "Dogs and Demons" for more detailed info about the subject.