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Author: Martha C.

Nussbaum
Title of Article: Education and Democratic Citizenship: Capabilities and Quality
Education
Publisher: Journal of human Development Vol. 7, No. 3
Year of Publication: 2006

In a democratic society, government exists to serve the people. Democracies grant


many freedoms to their citizens and it is ideally right for the people to involve politically.
Thus, they are given the right to choose. But, it is not always that people make good
decisions. Sometimes people are driven what is popular or they were bribe by politicians
especially those who are at the bottom of the pyramid. Hence, Martha Nussbaum speaks
of education as a crucial for safeguarding the democratic process. She would say that
there is a need for citizens to be educated, not in the sense that they have to go to school,
but focusing on developing critical thinking, world citizenship, to recognize there state or
position, social awareness and imaginative understanding. It is necessary to discuss this
of kind of education according to Martha Nussbaum. She would discuss Education and
Democratic Citizen: Capabilities and Quality Education.

Nussbaum begins with the author presenting two sides of the education in
India: that of the education conducted by NGOs like Adithi, and that of the education

provided by the government. Nussbaum painted a hardship-filled but hopeful picture for
NGO education, and contrasted it with the depressing picture in the government schools.

She stressed the fact that education of citizens is the most crucial aspect of
democracy. This importance is being recognized and emphasized by political debates
today, but much of it is focused on basic literacy and numeracy and scientific and
technological education. On subjects such as history, the debate is typically on textbook
content. Nussbaum found all of this very narrow in the light of the question of how to
develop young minds of future democratic citizens, and argued that the abilities
connected to the humanities and arts are crucial for this formation and for the
safeguarding of democracy.

The author then moved on to discuss three capacities needed for cultivating
democratic citizenship today. The first is the capacity for critical examination of oneself
and ones tradition. This capacity is stressed by both Rabindranath Tagore and
Jawaharlal Nehru. The second capacity is the capacity to see oneself as human beings
bound to all other human beings by ties of recognition and concern. The third capacity is
the capacity for narrative imagination. According to the author, the third capacity is the
ability to be in the shoes of others or to be in sensitive to the feelings and needs of
others. This can be developed through literature and arts. What she meant is that the role
of literature and art has a strong connection to develop such capacity.

Nussbaums objective is to explain and defend the three-part model of education,


for the benefit of the people and to the future generation. She follows her idea from
Rabindranath Tagore for supporting her arguments, with the help of John Dewey as a
secondary backup for her arguments.

Arts education can play an important role in improving academic performance.


We learn that Nussbaum has this idea how art develops peoples skill and talents, not only
in ourselves but also contributes to the society. I quote The arts crucial sources of both
freedom and community, when people put on a play together, they have to learn to go
beyond tradition and authority, if they are going to express themselves as well. And the
sort of community created by arts is non-hierarchical, a valuable model of the
responsiveness and interactivity that a good democracy will foster in its political
process. She is captivated on how Rabindranath Tagore develops his program of arts to
his students. So, there is kind of performance of Rabindranath Tagore where Nussbaum in
likely inclined to and where she suggest that we should follow. She cannot help but praise
Tagores programme at the Santinikrtan and also anecdotes from one of Tagores students
on Tagores art programme. For Nussbaum there are a lot of things to consider, she has
more things to develop to her major points on how can she strengthen her idea on why art
is the cultivator of narrative imagination. But, because she found a light to Rabindranath
Tagores ideals, she is hopeful from the certain point of view. She is content how Tagores
programme helps her to justify in referring to the events and also helping her to
strengthen her idea.

In the Second capacity, Nussbaum proposes to expand the obligation of


citizens into some existentialist I-Thou relationship. What she is trying to say is that
regular citizen in a democratic should recognize that we are all connected, it is
undeniable human beings are connected to there fellow human beings in ties of
recognition and concern. What is in her picture of Nussbaum is that education should be
provided appropriate/suited to its citizens so it that can bring out the best of a democratic
country.

What I found that I am not fully convinced is that of the second capacity because
it does not imply a strong background on national loyalty basing from Nussbaums
argument. There seems to be a failure on considering the identity of democracy, which is
the government, because as citizens we are oblige to patronize our country. What I am
trying to say is how can we have a strong background of our country if we are not loyal,
because if we try to ignore this then there seems to be a problem because citizens would
be more apathetic to the its country, this what Nussbaum is trying to avoid. I seems
cannot agree to how she tries to justify the second capacity as essential towards the
safeguarding of democracy. From what I have understood from her arguments is that
second capacity is to delineate the ways on how to use and achieve this capacity. I am
deep thought how second capacity contributes to cultivating a strong citizenry who can
work with the problems that appears from time to time in the democratic government.

Other than that I understood well the first and the third capacities. She would
explain that the first capacity is to justify the role in cultivation of the citizens of the
democratic country is due to crucial component for democracy to settle or work out the
differences of the people who are involve.