Roles of Education in Increasing People’s Cultural Awareness

By: I Nengah Subadra
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Education plays an important role in determining the quality of the culture of a country in the world. The educations which mainly affect people’s cultural awareness are; environmental education, social and cultural educations, and technological education.

Environmental education should be given to everyone in the world as everyone lives surrounded by nature and culture. It is evidence that every single second of the time, we may not be separated from the influence of environment since getting up in the morning, doing daily activities such as; studying, earning a living until sleeping. The environment contributes lots of things to our lives. It provides sources of food to eat, water to drink, air to breath and fire to burn or for energy. As an important part of our lives, environment should be well kept in balanced or harmony in order to be able to provide all people’s needs during their lives. Naturally, it is also in accordance with the Hindu Philosophy called “Tri Hita Karana” the harmony relationship among human and God, human and being, and human and nature.

Moreover, Mahatma Gandhi an Indian human activist states strictly that the God creates the earth and all its contents for such purposes. He believes that the earth is enough to produce everyone’s needs as long as they can manage and sustain all creatures well, they are always on a good term, respect each other and live peacefully. On contrary, the earth will not be enough for such a greedy man who never feels satisfied. This last type of man tends to exploit the earth as hard as possible only for his/her own needs, never cares of others, and sometimes he/she thinks that he/she is the only man who lives in the earth.

Knowledge as a part of education also determines someone’s cultural awareness. There are basically two kinds of knowledge namely; internal knowledge and external knowledge. Internal knowledge is knowledge which is used to understand ourselves deeply and has long-life and permanent impacts to our lives. In process of understanding ourselves, there are some useful questions to help such as; what and who am I actually?, what can give me quietness in my life?, how can I get a long-life happiness? etc. Should we are able to understand and answer the questions above well, it really helps us to get what we expect in our lives.

There are a number of methods to have the internal knowledge and know the real life such as; yoga, meditation, fasting, etc. Yoga is a process of unifying our thoughts to a focus “the Almighty God” and releasing our negative spirits and bad minds. Yoga simply teaches us how to respect and care of all God’s creatures without any exceptions. Meditation is a process of relaxing our body by focusing our thoughts to the Almighty God. There are actually a number of purposes of meditation, for instance; relaxation, health, refreshing mind, getting quietness, etc. Fasting is process of controlling our emotions and desires.

These methods guide us to master internal knowledge which is exactly the only way to get peaceful life and the real heaven. Meanwhile, the external knowledge affects our lives temporary and tends to be changeable, it just shows the way to fulfill our fundamental needs such as; foods, housing, and clothes.

Culture is everything made by man which is generated from generation to generation. Therefore, a culture can be a big and small work or creation. Culture has multi-capacities from the forms and reality of human being which can be seen from micro interpersonal communication of the man until processes and values of a norm in a group of community.

As a part of the human life, culture should be highly concerned and sustained in order the next generation can benefit from cultures generated from the previous generation. If we can not sustain the cultures well, sooner or later they will be disappeared and defeated by the epoch. More particular the small cultures will be easily disappeared by the rapid growth of globalization. Due to this importance, culture should be taught in all places such; at home, at schools (from kindergarten until university), at work, etc. By giving cultural educations, it is expected to increase the cultural awareness of the human being, so they can give equity to all people without discriminating their backgrounds at all.

There are at least four unsolvable cultural discriminations in the world such as; race, religion, language and descent. Some examples of those discriminations can be clearly seen in our life. The race discrimination which currently occurred in French, it discriminated the white and black men in certain sectors of works. The white men tend to have more roles and better positions than the black men. It surely rose up the black men’s emotions which finally caused riots, destructions, fired. This case happened due to the black men did not get equal treatment from the government and laws regulated in French.

Religion discrimination occurs in Indonesia. There are five religions which are acknowledged by the government namely; Hindu, Buddhist, Moslem, Catholic and Christian. Religion which is actually a holy teaching to guide the human being to be closer to the Almighty God also raises discrimination. It happens because each religion claims to be the best religion to reach the heaven. Basically all religions have the same purpose. However, they have different ways to reach the purpose and different names for the God. Different religion will call the God with different names, for instance; Hindu calls its God as Sang Hyang Widhi, Moslem calls its God as Allah, etc.

Language as a communication media and identity of a country discriminates people in over the world. The people who master foreign languages will tend to be proud of themselves and they think that they are the only men who tag along the globalization. Meanwhile, the people who do not master foreign languages will be supposed to be old-fashioned men. This idea is not absolutely true because most of the local people defend their language as an identity of their origin. The most important statement which helps protecting their local language is “I have what you have, but you do not have what I have. It means that other languages particularly foreign language can be learnt more easily, meanwhile the local language is hard to learn as it consists of not only language but also culture inside.

Descent discrimination can be easily seen in Bali, the caste system which was formerly formatted by the Dutch during its colonialism in Indonesia particularly Bali is actually no longer appropriate anymore now really discriminates Balinese people particularly for customary life practices in the villages. The four castes are: (1) Brahmana, it is the priest groups; (2) Ksatria, it is the warrior and security groups; (3) Wesyia, it is the seller and businessmen groups; and (4) Sudra, it is the farmer and labor groups.

As believed by the Hindu worshipers that all people were created by Dewa Brahma, preserved by Dewa Wisnu and destroyed by Dewa Siwa in which Dewa Brahma, Dewa Wisnu and Dewa Siwa are the manifestations of the Almighty God. Therefore, people shall have the same right and obligation in front of the God and not to be discriminated by such caste.

Those four discriminations make the people have narrow mind which raises sentiments such as; region sentiment, economy sentiment, hero sentiment, religion sentiment, language sentiment, etc. which finally end with conflicts. These sentiments threaten the social life and stumble the development of the culture, education and nation in all countries in the world. One solution which helps to solve the problem of discrimination is to go back to the concept of “Ibu Pertiwi” which means one for all and all creatures live in the earth is only a big family which should respect and trust each other.

In a social life, there are a number of norms and values which relate to cultural practices such as; ritual, religion and spirituality. Ritual and religion mostly educate the people about the ways to worship the Almighty God based on their beliefs and religions, for instance in Bali, the Hindu worshipers who worship the God by offering certain materials such as flower, water and fire which formed as a “Canang Sari” or “Banten” and their hands are unified in front of their foreheads while worshiping the God. Meanwhile, spirituality emphasizes and focuses in increasing people’s etiquette, attitude, behavior, discipline and morality as God’s creatures without any discrimination. The main concept of spirituality is that “God is only one power and a single identity, and there is not single conclusion of God’s deity”. Due to its universality, spirituality is learnt and practiced by most of the people in the world nowadays and they sometimes do not want to talk about religion which mainly teaches about differentiation of two different things (in Bali called “Rwa Bineda”) namely; good spirit which guides the people to go to the heaven and bad spirit which guides the people to go to the hell.

Technology is the application of science and knowledge which is purposed to generate benefit and usage to the human being. The application is in the form of a tool and its way or method to use it. As the technology development really depends on the development of education, therefore the students who study in all educational institutions formally or informally should be taught both the way of developing the technology to be more sophisticated and the capability of the human being to understand the meaning of the technology as it has both positive and negative impacts. Misunderstanding in meaning the technology will bring many negative impacts such as; suffering, individualism, dissatisfaction, discrimination, etc. To avoid the negative impacts of technology and to be not dependent on technology, there are two ways of understanding the meanings of technology, namely; functional and symbolic meanings. Functional meaning views the technology as a need. Meanwhile symbolic meaning views the technology as a wish or desire which sometimes used to rise up the prestige. For example a mobile phone, it can be seen from two points of views. A mobile phone will have a functional meaning when it is seen as a basic need which shall be fulfilled and used as a communication media without considering the brands, series, facilities, etc. A mobile phone will have a symbolic meaning when it is seen not only as a communication media but also as sense of prestige. For those who mean the mobile phone as a symbolic meaning will tend to change their mobile phone at any times and always look for the newest series and the most complete facility in order to be supposed to have the highest prestige. Symbolic meaning guides us to be another man. Be aware!

Technology with its two characters such as; constructive and destructive is simply like fire, it can help people to cook something to eat or drink but it can also burn the people up. Therefore, people should be able to use the technology wisely in order to get more advantages than disadvantages of technology.

In conclusion, education really plays an important role to increase the people’s cultural awareness which guides further to be universal men who care and respect all human being and God’s creatures in the earth without any discrimination at all. As known that living in this world is very complicated. Therefore, to face the problems during our live, just live simply and think highly!

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One thought on “Roles of Education in Increasing People’s Cultural Awareness

  1. intaning says:

    Tulisannya menarik sekali. salut pada usaha anda melestarikan kebudayaan bali. semoga lebih banyak lagi penulis yang consern pada permasalahan bali. tulisan anda saya gunakan sebagai salah satu compulsory articles yang harus saya baca sebagai finalis putri bali 2007.

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