Is our education really making us 'humane?'

SYED TALHA SHAH
Published 24.01.2019 00:03
Updated 25.01.2019 17:34

"I can't breathe!" were Jamal Khashoggi's last words, as reported by CNN, which cited a source who had read the transcript of the audio recording of the murder. After he was killed and his body was being dismembered, the report continued, Dr. Tubaigy is noted to have advised the people to "Put your earphones in, or listen to music like me."

Tubaigy is a forensic pathologist who has a master's degree from the University of Glasgow in Scotland and spent three months at the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine in Australia. When Tubaigy arrived at Istanbul's Atatürk Airport, Turkish officials reported that he was carrying a "bone saw." Dr. Stephen Cordner, the former director of the abovementioned Australian institute described this situation as "awful." He regretted that some doctors around the world abandon the values of "what most of us like to think of as a noble profession" Dr. Cordner further remarked. "[Some doctors] might even be involved in torture. And they might even be involved in worse... So that's the sort of things some doctors have done."

Even Bashar Assad, a loathed tyrant, is a medical graduate who pursued his ophthalmology training in London. In her opinion article for The Guardian, Ranjana Srivastava mentions the "innocent" question that her daughter posed to her upon learning this: "I don't get it. Aren't doctors supposed to help people?" Yet the irony is manifold since medical facilities in Syria are frequently targeted by Assad's forces, a glimpse of which can be read in a recent World Heath Organization (WHO) report, "In the first 6 months of 2018, there were 126 separate attacks on health care in Syria."

On the other hand, a few weeks ago, a German nurse admitted to the "deliberate" murder of over "100" patients by injecting them with fatal overdoses. His motive, the investigators suspect, was to "impress" his colleagues by trying to "save" these patients (in fact, "victims") by "resuscitating" them. Of course, not everyone could be saved.

Meanwhile, in Canada, a case of nearly 60 indigenous women was raised, who were allegedly "sterilized" forcibly by the hospital staff. CBC reported Alisa Lombard, a lawyer representing such women, as saying "In the throes of labor... They would be approached, harassed, coerced into signing these consent forms." The hospital staff and the doctors involved in the incident are to be investigated.

In fact, a number of professionals and educated personnel likewise, if we look around, are involved in various "sophisticated" crimes. The "MeToo" Movement unmasked the "sexual misconduct" of powerful men, most of whom had decent educational and professional backgrounds. Bill Cosby, for example, had around 100 honorary degrees from various prestigious universities in the U.S. Despite his impressive contributions and recognition, for decades, he'd been "manipulating" females for his own "pleasure." Earlier this year, the Oxfam scandal highlighted an example of how the "educated and privileged" people, apparently working for "humanitarian purposes," could exploit the vulnerable people for their own "benefits," in this case, sexually.

The deadliest weapons and the most destructive methods to kill have been invented by some "genius minds." Likewise, many convicted terrorists possessed high education and skills. Similarly, the so-called "enhanced interrogation techniques" used by the CIA and other such agencies against "terrorist suspects" (yes, merely suspects) were "masterminded" by two psychologists. Despite widespread condemnation for these inhumane torture techniques, former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney defended these "interrogation techniques" remarking "I'd do it again." Examples of arrogant, dishonest, corrupt, deceitful, immoral and sexually mischievous behavior can be found all around us and that pretty much includes our "educated" classes. There are also incidences of "intellectual dishonesty" whereby forged data and fake results are put forth by "researchers."

Education has tremendously expanded over the years including the span of formal education, institutions, a variety of subjects, learning resources, literacy rates and so forth. With the rise of "education," the rise of a new and "better" civilization was foreseen. Today we can find numerous individuals carrying impressive educational credentials, job titles and innovative ideas; but the eyes long to see the "civilized" and "humane" society that supposedly was the purpose of all this education.

Today, "success" is equated with "high scores," "honorable credentials," "academic publications and citations," "widespread fame" and "tremendous wealth." Julian Kirchherr mentioned in his article on The Guardian, "A Ph.D. should be about improving society, not chasing academic kudos," this pretty much applies to the whole education system.

So here we need to step back and ponder about what education means to us as a human society? Are "human values" really a part of our education? Is our education really making us "humane" and "civilized?" Perhaps it's time for us to reconsider our course.

* Medical doctor based in Pakistan

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