With permission of Professor Yusef Waghid of the University of Stellenbosch, the Parkmore Institute republishes here his commentary that appeared in the 9th June 2017 issue of South Africa’s Mail and Guardian. Although his focus is the tertiary education system in South Africa, his arguments apply at least as much, perhaps even more, to the prevailing practices of graduate education in Europe and North America. Although he does not quote Paolo Freire’s 1968 Pedagogy of the Oppressed, what Waghid is describing is the “banking system” of education that produces students who are mere “technicians of learning,” filled with information and skills ‑‑‑ so that they can graduate to function as “cogs in the wheel,” serving to reproduce sociocultural and political‑economic systems that are inherently oppressive. What is argued here is that the changes urgently required in the world require graduates who have the capacity to act and think independently. This implies the need for professional education that promotes autonomy, dissonance and reflective openness in relation to the subjects to be studied ‑‑‑ a system in which learning is scholarly, responsible, relevant, free‑thinking and progressive. The Parkmore Institute exists to offer students just such an experience.
Barnaby B. Barratt, PhD, DHS, ABPP