Schools for Social Development

Manila Bulletin, July 23, 2014 | Go to article overview

Schools for Social Development


The role of schools is not limited to helping ensure that their products are broad-minded individuals; those products should also be big-hearted. These two---a broad mind and a big heart---should always go together; they are essential characteristics of a well balanced person, who should prove, by deeds, to be a great asset for society. In much the same way that families can never be inward-looking, schools also have to direct their orientation outward, to the community it serves and the society it is duty-bound to help develop. Schools are never for themselves alone, or for their immediate stakeholders; they always have in mind a much wider constituency as well. Thus beyond the 3 Rs, the 4Vs, math, science, and language as well as the professional knowledge, skills, and expertise they help provide, and beyond logic, rhetoric, and literature (reading) they give due importance to, schools also provide opportunities for widening hearts and for taking on a more comprehensive social orientation. For their role in widening hearts, schools may choose specific initiatives under these three areas: Service orientation. This is a fundamental role: to ensure that those seeking an education should be brought up with the core idea that their life is not for themselves; rather it has to be lived more fully in service to others. Others may have concrete faces and specific names: the other individuals at home; the classmates in school; other friends in the wider family and social circles. They may also belong to a much bigger social and political circle, such as fellow citizens of the local community and fellow nationals of the country. All these others have to be the object of attention and concern. We look for many different ways by which to serve them effectively and satisfactorily. Team work and collaboration. Virtually all great work is done in teams. Furthermore, the inter-connectedness of todays world has made networks absolutely essential; and networks are there as channels for collaboration, mutual exchange, and greater coordination. …

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