Disruption of Concept in Modern Western Education Philosophy
المنتدى الإسلامي العالمي للتربية

Disruption of Concept in Modern Western Education Philosophy


In early 1971, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) decided to undertake a comprehensive review of the contemporary educational systems over the world, suggesting that these systems have failed to achieve their objectives. Accordingly, an international commission was set up (International Commission on the Development of Education), chaired by Edgar Faure, a former French Prime Minister, with members from Chile, Syria, Congo, the Soviet Union, Iran and the United States.


The Commission visited twenty three countries and examined studies submitted by UNESCO over twenty five years. It also reviewed 81 research papers from various world countries prepared by experts to contribute to the work of the Commission.

The Commission finished its work in 1972 and published a report, titled, “Learning to be” in various languages ​​used by UNESCO, which was distributed it to Member States as a guide in the formulation of new educational systems based on new educational philosophies.

“The industrialized nations' educational system retains—at least in very many cases—its dual nature; the education dispensed is pre-technological, while recruitment, socially speaking, is elitist (we are of course referring to high-level studies). This selfsame system, with the same characteristics, has, in general, been introduced into developing countries, where it has the additional disadvantages of being adapted neither to the cultural environment nor to the social and human setting,” the report says.

Taking into account that the Commission reached its findings from studying the reality of various applications of education systems over the world – systems that are derived from the Western educational systems, according to the Commission – a consideration of the historical development of educational philosophies underlying these systems - from inception to the present time - reveals that there is a disruption in the perception and concept, that is exacerbated with the passage of time.

Then the author conducts a historical study of this development (disruption) starting from the twelfth century AD … At the end of the book, the author introduces a criticism of the key schools of modern Western educational thought, as follows:

1- Pragmatic thought:

Pragmatism as a philosophical movement relied on philosophies, theories, doctrines and earlier philosophical movements, such as the Darwinian theory of evolution and utilitarianism (which states that the consequences of any action or the benefits they achieve are the only standard of right and wrong), denying the spiritual side altogether.

Pragmatism is criticized for its exaggerated emphasis on (self-experience) in the process of learning; all education material, whether accounting, historical, geographic or natural sciences, must be extracted from the experience of daily life.

This means that self-experience and individual success are two fundamental criteria of morality, away from the historical experience of humanity. The aim is to prepare the individual for living in a capitalist society that emphasizes individuality, competition up tp strife and fighting, based on the principle of survival of the fittest and the strongest.

2- Existential thought:

Existentialism is a European philosophy that emerged in the mid-1950s. It begins with the human subject—not merely the thinking subject – and its most famous thinkers are Sartre, Camille, and Kneller.

The existentialists believe that the primary objective of education is to preserve individualism in exchange against a greater danger to the human being, which is the group that wants to turn him to an animal. Therefore, the educational process should be individual, away as possible from the collective work of students.

The existentialists deny the absolute moral values, and believe that the individual determines whether he is doing good or evil, virtue or vice, not society.

3- Freudian thought:

The Freudians draw a miserable picture of the psychological growth of the human being, suggesting that the internal psychological formations shape and determine social relations. They give biological instincts and unconscious motives a great deal of significance in shaping the behavior of the child. Thus, Freudianism practically denies man's moral responsibility on the basis that his will is affected by motives that he is not aware or in control of.


Towards a new educational philosophy to get out of the crisis

In the seventies of last century, psychology developed so much that psychologists and those concerned realized the great error that their predecessors made when they concluded – based on the data of psychology itself – that the education philosophy must be restricted to physical world and sensual desires.

At the head of this trend was Professor Abraham H. Maslow, best known for his self-actualization theory of psychology, which argued that the primary goal of psychotherapy should be the integration of the self. Specialized journals at the time, said: "From now on (over a century), perhaps the most theories that are likely to direct our behavior will be Maslow's, not Freud’s, Darwin’s or Skinner's.”

However, the significance of the role played by Maslow in the field of (education philosophy) is that he put the materialistic education philosophies in a position of defense. He openly called for engagement in the field of religion and values, but not the religion and values ​​that Europe abandoned at the beginning of the Renaissance and led to a division between religion and science.  Instead, Maslow called for searching for a new religion and values, the specifications of which are found in Islam, according to the author.

Therefore, there is still a need for:

Introducing Islamic education - as a message - to confront the challenges facing the contemporary Islamic world and to meet its future needs and aspirations, and to contend with the challenges of the international educational thought which seeks a new educational theory to get out of its current crisis.


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