Education facing the issue of cultural backwardness

Zbigniew Kwieciński

Abstract



Experts in the Prognostic Committee of the Polish Academy of Sciences (M. Kleiber, J. Kleer and others) have found that Poland’s further development, as well as reducing the country’s civilizational backwardness compared with the developed Western countries, depend on whether Poland can overcome the barriers found in its cultural system which have accumulated for many years. A modern and coherent educational system is a prerequisite for such a cultural change. The author believes that this dependence of Poland’s further development on a fundamental overhaul of the educational system is a problem of the highest degree of difficulty (an aporeme). This is because the current educational system is incoherent, pre-modern and beset by a number of pathologies. What is needed is a generally accepted change of the model of thinking about education – a paradigm change – that needs to be coupled with setting up a strategic institution at the highest state level which would consistently implement a multiannual programme of changes in the educational system. The author cites two examples of such a successful coupled change: in South Korea and in Russia. In South Korea, there has been a long process of progressive educational change which has emerged through resistance against the colonial tradition and military dictatorship. In Russia under Gorbachev, a proposal for a comprehensive educational change emerged suddenly, resulting from the work of outstanding intellectuals, as reactance to and inversion of the authoritarian and centralist solutions that had been applied for many years before, and using the familiar Western solutions. After Poland had regained independence in 1918, Polish educationalists also put forward modern and progressive proposals for changing the fundamentals of the educational system (L. Witkowski). However, these proposals were not understood, let alone implemented, for many decades that followed (due to war and communism). The author poses the question of whether it is possible simultaneously to design systemic educational change and have it implemented by a politically independent and strategic executive body.  


Keywords


coupling civilizational; cultural an educational change; the progressivist educational paradigm; types of paradigm changes: emergence; reactance; long-term strategy

Full Text:

PDF (Polish)