Sunday, May 3, 2009
From the padi field to the knowledge farm
From Right to Left: Yvonne, Samantha, Hui Yi, Cynthia, Yiing (Me) Photo taken on 18 August 2007 at Cultural Village.
The Importance of Education to the Dayak Community by Datu Wilson Baya Dandot
Came across this magazine brought home by dad, thought of sharing with you guys. Happy Reading while i enjoy typing.. =)
Education is important to all communities around the world, and for that matter, to the Dayak community. At the most basic and individual level, it opens up one's mind to development and continuous improvement. Without education, a community can stay blissfully ignorant and be left behind by the others. In the Bidayuh Biatah dialect, education enables us to be 'burak' - to be awakened and to open up.
Education is a means to acquire knowledge and skills that are required to further develop oneself as an individual and as a community. Together we must continually acquire and develop our knowledge base. In the Bidayuh metaphor, one must continually 'ngasa bukuo' (sharpening one's parang) before we go to the jungle or to the farm.
Beyond the acquisition of knowledge and skills, the Dayak community must also have the right attitude and aptitude to want to be educated and to go through the mill, so to speak. For the Dayak community, education should not stop at the acquisition of knowledge and skills, but they must also have the attitude and aptitude to meet the challenges of Vision 2020. In essence, we need to change our attitude and mindset and instill the sense of competitiveness, and not to remain contented and complacent.
Looking beyond, let us next look at education philosophically. Attaining tertiary education can be visualised as an important step to facilitate social mobility and more so in terms of upward mobility. It further enables one to get out of where one is now geographically or in spatial terms, as well as in inter-temporal terms. In the latter context, one can understand the intelligent and creative minds of the science fiction writers who can bring us to the future where their minds have been shaped by their education.
Education can also instill confidence in the individual and the community. It can happen that in any community and more so those from the rural areas that the educated and successful members can be seen as role models to their peers and to the next generation. The Kelabits in the Kelabit Highland provide a good example in this aspect with the e-Bario project. They are already a virtual society. So are the Bisaya in the Limbang valley and Lun Bawang in the Maligan Valley. The pioneer batch of Penan graduates are playing these roles as well.
Education is an empowering tool for the individual and the community, which through their critical thinking, enables them to rationally determine and articulate their needs and requirements, and thereby achieve success. Of course, each community then sets up its own criteria, benchmarks and terms of reference to measure success such as having good jobs, being successful in business or being able to succeed at the village level or in urban areas. It is argued here that all these can be achieved through education. Here we have to distinguish between success achieved through sweat and hard work as in the past (how hard you work) versus success achieved through intelligence and brainpower today (how smart you work). For while our forefathers have played their parts and made their contributions through their hard labour as dictated by their environment and upbringing of their eras, we are today facing a different set of challenges where the rate of change and transformation is moving exponentially rather than incrementally or marginally.
Education in essence, creates human beings who are integrated and intelligent, where intelligence is the ability to perceive the essentials. Education helps us to experience the integrated process or processes of life. For the highest function of education is to bring an integrated and whole individual, capable of dealing with life as a whole. Education incremental terms or in terms of quantum leap? Must not the Dayaks think of a paradigm shift rather than continue to languish and cling to the age-old ways of doing things? The contention here is that any paradigm shift or change in mindset must come and only through education.
Education is the enabler, the prime mover, the driver, the change agent or the panacea for the community. Let us restate that education is the foundation for the future development and progress of the Dayak community. Hence, we need to re-examine and restate the importance of education to the community if they are to catch up and progress in tandem with the other more progressive communities. As this is Gawai time and an occasion to celebrate the past year harvest, it is also a time to re-examine our needs and other form of harvests for the future. It is considered timely that the Dayak community continues to accord the importance of education into their value system as well as to look beyond what education can offer.
Well, that's it - education =) Bless us future teachers bring development to our country and future generation. Happy Gawai in advance to coursemates Cynthia Dorhat and Bruno a/k John Musoi, dear Andrew Victor and family, Alex Lau and others who are celebrating Gawai =)