You would change the way it educates its children.
The U.S. Government knew this in the 19th century when it forced Native American children into government boarding schools. Today, volunteers build schools in rural land-based societies around the world, convinced that school is the only way to a ‘better’ life for rural and Indigenous children.
But is this true? What really happens when we replace another culture’s canon of knowledge with modern schooling? Does life really get better for its people?
SCHOOLING THE WORLD takes a challenging look at the actual impacts of institutional education on the world’s last sustainable land-based societies.
Shot on location in Ladakh in the northern Indian Himalayas, the film examines the hidden assumption of cultural superiority behind education aid projects, which overtly aim to help children “escape” to a “better life.”
It looks at the failure of institutional education to deliver on its promise of a way out of poverty – in the United States as well as in the so-called “developing” world.
And it questions our very definitions of wealth and poverty – and of knowledge and ignorance – as it uncovers the role of schools in the destruction of sustainable agricultural and ecological knowledge, in the breakup of extended families and communities, and in the devaluation of complex knowledge systems and rich spiritual traditions.
Finally, SCHOOLING THE WORLD calls for a “deeper dialogue” between cultures, suggesting that so-called “developed” societies have at least as much to learn as they have to teach.
SCHOOLING THE WORLD: THE WHITE MAN’S LAST BURDEN
photography JIM HURST and BEN KNIGHT sound recording JIM HURST
produced by NEAL MARLENS, JIM HURST, and MARK GROSSAN directed and edited by CAROL BLACK
featuring DOLMA TSERING, MANISH JAIN, VANDANA SHIVA, HELENA NORBERG-HODGE, & WADE DAVIS