تازه های تحقیق
Neoliberalism gradually emerged from the first decades of the twentieth century. However, the beginning of the influence of this ideology dates back to the 1970s. (Davies & Bansel, 2007) .The special aspect of neoliberalism is the economizing of all aspects of human life. Neoliberalism has given us the understanding that we see the whole world only as capital in competition with other capitals; so human capitals, like economic capitals, compete with each other in various ways. (Brown, 2015). Neoliberalism is more important from an economic point of view, but the consequences of neoliberalism are also reflected in other human fields, especially in the field of education. (Whyte, 2019).Neoliberalism builds identities, subjects, and lifestyles because of its ideological and educational power. Neoliberalism designs all aspects of life based on market rationality.(Hart-Landsberg, 2006).Neoliberalism seeks to change public understanding of politics, society, culture, education, and in a word, way of life (Torres,2013). Educational reforms of neoliberalism change not only what individuals do, but also the very existence of individuals. (Saad‐Filho &Johnston,2005). Neoliberalism, however, has had positive consequences for education, including the development of public education and equality in education, peace education, and attention to citizenship education and quality assurance (Bagheri, 2012). On the other hand, it has had many negative consequences, such as radical utilitarianism, the supremacy of market-oriented logic, commercialization, and the marketization of education (Mohammadi & Mirzamohammadi, 2020).
On the other hand, the criterion for judging knowledge has become the rate of economic utility and wealth production and become a superior criterion in the process of production and efficiency, while truth-seeking has been seriously damaged (Mirzamohammadi & Mohammadi, 2017). For example, the dominance of economic companies with the name of education entrance exam institutes in all levels of education in Iran is one of the traces of neoliberalism (Mohammadi & Zibakalam, 2014). The growing elements of neoliberalism in Iranian education have become a challenge for educational planners and policy makers, but few critical studies have addressed the results of this process (Zibakalam &Mohammadi, 2017). According to the above, some researchers in the philosophy of education in Iran believe that in order to get out of the problems caused by the negative consequences of neoliberalism in the field of education, we must turn to the main source of education, namely educational liberalism. In other words, in the last two decades, the attention of many researchers has shifted again to the role of educational liberalism, so maybe the missing in the present age, that is, nurturing virtues and moral education and the value of knowledge in itself replaces unhealthy educational competitions, and the sole focus on educational profitability and a commodity attitude to knowledge. Plato and Aristotle are considered to be the pioneers of the school of educational liberalism (Mirzamohammadi, Zibakalam & Sohbatlo, 2012). The slogan of educational liberalism is the acquisition of knowledge for the transcendence of mind and the search for truth (Fong, 2004). Educational liberalism educates students so that they can develop the courage to face innovation. Educational liberalism means looking for a way to freedom and viewing in a different way so that one can develop one’s intellectual and mental skills in this way (Lewis, 2007). Educational liberalism enables students to perform more effectively and helps them acquire rational skills for analytical thinking (Meilaender, 2014).
However, research shows that educational liberalism, despite its positive achievements, has negative consequences in the field of education (Ehrlic & Fu, 2015). According to Mirowski, living conditions today require students to be taught many skills, and the strengthening of basic skills or the entrepreneurial and employment approach to education should be considered (Mirowski, 2013). In educational liberalism, what matters is the flourishing of talents, and on the other hand, there are the teacher, the curriculum, and the great works. In the education system, students should be taught how to live and how to deal with life issues (Association of American Colleges & Universities, 2020). The American Association of Colleges & Universities (2020) found in a study that the school seeks to nurture students’ minds, personalities, and existence in the first place, rather than to teach content. In a study Putzel (2020) concluded that over time neoliberalism has shown its ineffectiveness to a large extent. The problems of this approach and its excellent example are very obvious in the field of contemporary education system. Whyte (2019) concluded that neoliberalism, as the dominant discourse of the global capitalist system, has faced various challenges in recent years and has had many negative consequences in the field of education. Deckard (2019) concluded in a study that neoliberalism, by turning us into entrepreneurial human beings, traps everyone in material necessity and has a commodity view of science and art, and sees these two categories as a bridge to greater income and financial well-being. Nash (2019) also concluded in a study that the hidden policies of neoliberalism have plundered all values and cultures and in fact emptied humanity from within. Mohammadi & Mirza Mohammadi (2020)concluded in a study that although neoliberalism has positive points, it also has many negative consequences in the field of education such as radical utilitarianism, the supremacy of market-oriented logic, commercialization and marketization of education. According to Mirza Mohammadi and Mohammadi (2017), neoliberal reforms in the field of higher education are not in line with the goals of Islamic education in Iran and have created negative effects at the level of Iranian universities. According to Bagheri (2015), neoliberalism seeks to extend market culture to sections of society such as science and culture. According to Mohammadi (2015) the consumerist culture of neoliberalism, with its materialistic nature, monopolistic individualism, extravagance, creating deprivation for the low-income classes, luxury-oriented, reduction of agency of human, competition for wealth and the transformation of wealth into a criterion of valuation, creates fundamental challenges for education in Iran. Mirza Mohammadi et al. (2012) concluded in a study that in the theory of educational liberalism, the main goal and slogan of education is to enlighten the mind and release it from a specific time and place. Dinarvand (2011) concluded in a study that higher education in order to achieve an educated person is necessary to reconcile liberal philosophy with professional philosophy and while being faithful to the original values of higher education, must meet the necessities and requirements of the time. Since each of these two schools has weaknesses and challenges, it is necessary to analyze and criticize these two approaches in order to present a new conceptualization for the education system; In other words, by examining the advantages and disadvantages of the two points of view, we must achieve conceptual reconstruction, and present a new conceptualization of this process in order to be able to meet the challenges created in the Iranian education system. Accordingly, the main issue of the present study is the analysis and criticisms of the foundations of education of educational liberalism and educational neoliberalism in order to present a new conceptualization for the Iranian educational system. With regard to this issue, the following questions have been formulated:
In this study, research method was qualitative using the methods of conceptual analysis (conceptualization) and critical (external critique). In answer to the first question, the methods of conceptual analysis (conceptualization) and critical (external critique) were used. In response to the second question, the hybrid method was used. In hybrid research, the researcher tries to provide a suitable synthesis between different theories. In a harmonious synthesis, theories can be synthesized in such a way that the components of the new composition have an organic unity and are not the only result of putting together incompatible pieces of different sets (Bagheri, 2010,219). The method of collecting data, documents and primary and secondary sources was done by reviewing information databases
3.1. First question: What are the foundations of educational liberalism and educational neoliberalism and what are the criticisms of them?
Fundamentals of Educational Liberalism
In educational liberalism under the banner of human freedom, on the one hand, has the independence and general ability to do things, and on the other hand, have the ability to make different choices and the ability to achieve human goals (Lewis, 2007). From this point of view, individual independence and freedom is respected and it’s tried so that the person be able to achieve the talents of his own (Stolzenberg, 1993). In the school of educational liberalism, the main purpose of acquiring knowledge is to nurture the mind; Of course, the search for knowledge in its free sense requires scientific freedom (Zibakalam, 2005: 37). In educational liberalism, there is a distinction between what is called “mere living” and “good living”. The difference between the two is in the issue of necessity and freedom, the former is still in the bondage of necessity, but the latter can freely use its will to change the world (Edmundson, 1997).
Plato considers education to be the nurturing of human intellect and wisdom (Zibakalam, 2005). The school of educational liberalism believes that the most valuable human power is the power of rationality, in the shadow of which one is able to make correct and rational decisions in his field of action. Students must learn how to think and reason and grow rationally on scientific and moral foundations. Since education is the process of creating basic concepts, it should teach students how to think and how to learn. Getting students to think is the main task of the education system (Mulcahy, 2008).
From the point of view of educational liberalism, human happiness means to understand and comprehend truths, the constant search for knowledge and human happiness in a life based on rationality; a happy human being who can achieve self-fulfillment, self-nurturing and human perfection. .(Batista,2014) Plato believes that knowledge has a specific importance and meaning to mind, that is, the mind, due to its special nature, always seeks knowledge (Zibakalam, 1993) According to Aristocrats, a happy man is an educated man. A happy person is one who enjoys the moral arts, which are also the result of education (Eskandari, 2004).
In the school of educational liberalism, knowledge is pursued for its intrinsic value. Knowledge should increase awareness and mutual understanding, increase the ability to adapt, increase analytical skills and critical thinking (Nussbaum, 1997). Analytical thinking and respect for knowledge is considered by this school. Learning knowledge leads to intellectual excellence and mental pleasure of human beings (Nussbaum, 2009). In educational liberalism, the main goal and slogan of education is to enlighten the mind and release it from a specific time and place. Knowledge is sought for itself and to satisfy the mind and is acquired in order to enlighten the mind (Mirzamohammadi & et al, 2012). Educational liberalism believes that education should acquaint people with extensive knowledge and skills, values, civic ethics and how to interact socially, and the mind pursues knowledge for its intrinsic value (Kimball, 1996).
Public education is in charge of formal and general education of students and according to educational liberalism, this is the most important and main function of the education system and other issues such as specialization and vocational training are in the second stage of importance (Roth, 2014). Public education is considered as the main structure of educational liberalism; this means that in the first place they seek to nurture the mind, personality and existence of students (Association of American Colleges & Universities, 2020). Peters sees educational liberalism as a general education and rejects specialization in it, and distinguishes between educational liberalism and vocational training (Pirhayati, 2000).
Knowledge is of special value to philosophers of educational liberalism, as the early philosophers of this tradition emphasized “knowledge is virtue” (Marjani, 2005) Education that is purely for material gain can become a dangerous tool for humanity. Acquiring knowledge nurtures the ability to understand facts (Mulcahy, 2008). Peters and Hurst see educational liberalism as the value of acquiring knowledge in itself, and sees the reason for learning apart from the benefits that are likely to arise, in study and research itself, not because of its external ends (Pirhayati, 2000).
An educated person is the ideal of education. This human being nurtures himself in the light of intellect, morality, emotion, will and responsibility. The student only tries to preserve information, but the educated person has changed (Nami, 2005). They teach the art of criticism and thought and creativity. The transcendent man is truth-seeking (Freeland, 2009). Educational liberalism places the greatest value on nurturing the soul and acquiring moral virtues, and says that man cannot be considered a man without attaining these degrees (Mirzamohammadi & et al, 2012).
Plato considers education for all members of society and considers it the right of individuals. .(Naghibzade,1995:42)The basic philosophy in public education is that the period of public education is the time of teaching basic knowledge and basic life skills and local, national, global and human citizenship, and the essence of these teachings is right thinking and critical thinking (Akramifard, 2016).
Fundamentals of Educational Neoliberalism
From the point of view of neoliberal thinkers, freedom refers to individual freedoms; In other words, the concept of freedom means authoritarian freedom (Brown, 2018). Advocacy of individual and social freedoms, such as freedom of thought and expression, is an example of respect for individual rights (Freeden, 1986:22). In other words, everyone’s beliefs are respected in the individual and personal spheres (Judis, 2001:78)
For neoliberals, there is a kind of rationality that is more powerful than any other, and that is economic rationality, cost-benefit analysis; everyone must act in a way that maximizes their personal interests (Torres, 2013). Neoliberalism is a kind of rationality that produces subjects that matches itself (Turner, 2008). Educational neoliberalism seeks to create capable and economically productive people who can make a living in today’s capitalist world (Brown, 2018).
According to educational neoliberalism, human happiness means paying attention to the appearance of material things and pleasures, increasing wealth and material goods, material welfare and consumerism. Neoliberalism considers the good and happiness of people in increasing wealth and material goods. In fact, happiness of a consumer human needs to be shown (Budaryar, 2010:58).
In the school of educational neoliberalism, knowledge is not pursued for its intrinsic value; and external goals such as economic profitability and increasing material productivity are considered (Jaschik,2004:4) In educational neoliberalism, there is an emphasis on economic efficiency and productivity and there is a commodity and instrumental view of knowledge (Turner,2008:15). In educational neoliberalism, technical and experimental sciences are of special importance because these sciences are a bridge to achieve material profitability and higher efficiency (Brown,2018).
In educational neoliberalism, education should be pursued as a specialty and the output of the education system should be specialized and professional people (Doherty, 2007). In educational neoliberalism, special emphasis is placed on specialty because the possibility of technology production is higher by specialized people (Sandbrook, 2007)
The purpose of education and the purpose of learning and acquiring knowledge should be to meet the needs of life and livelihood in the first place (Brown,2015). Acquisition of knowledge should be an objective and productive action, and not merely the utterance of rhetorical and formal sentences that stimulate only the aesthetic aspect of individuals (Yoo, 2011).
To nurture an entrepreneurial generation, one must think of ways to increase the skills of individuals in the process of education. Revising the content of textbooks is an important step that must be taken in this direction (Lapavitsas, 2005) .For scientific progress and the nurturing of entrepreneurs, there is no choice but to change the perspective on the content and teaching methods of schools (Gertz & Kharas, 2019). In today’s world, an education system will be a more successful and efficient that includes both liberal arts education and prepares students for future careers through vocational and internship courses (Jaschik,2004).
If the education system is solely monopolized by the government, it cannot have much quality and efficiency; therefore, to increase the quality and productivity of the educational system, privatization can be used. In developed countries, governments seek to achieve the goals of increasing the efficiency of the education system, earning more revenue in the education system, and reducing the government’s financial burden by implementing the privatization process in education. While in developing countries, the optimal use of family financial resources, reducing the volume of government intervention in education, creating a competitive environment between private schools are also pursued (Pring,1987).
Considering the analysis and explanation of the foundations and reconceptualization (synthesis) and the synthesis of the two schools of the foundations of educational liberalism and educational neoliberalism and the characteristics that were expressed from both schools, criticisms of some foundations of these two schools can be deduced. The answer or elimination of these gaps cannot be considered as a reliable criterion for the educational system in any way. Therefore, it is necessary to make adjustments in it so that by reconstructing and re-understanding and revising the meaning and concept of the basic components of the two schools and presenting new and innovative interpretations of the concepts governing education and reaching a harmonious, we can achieve the restoration of the face of the education system. We now turn to the re-conceptualized components.
Educational concepts and syntheses (couples) of educational liberalism and educational neoliberalism
This foundation is inferred from the criticism, analysis and explanation of the foundation of freedom in educational liberalism and the foundation of freedom in educational neoliberalism. The foundation of internal-external freedom has been enumerated in order to fill the gaps in both schools. This foundation provides the conditions in the education system on the one hand to seek freedom of mind, and thought and in other words internal freedom and on the other hand to seek freedom of expression and individual freedom and in other words external freedom. It is now necessary to make adjustments to the composition so that it can be reconstructed for the education system by reconstructing the two schools. Now the most desirable option is to pay attention to the positive characteristics and salient aspects of both schools in the field of freedom. Thus, in such an atmosphere, on the one hand, it’s tried to deal with freedom in the sense of internal freedom, which is the freedom of mind and thought, and on the other hand, it’s tried to deal with freedom in the sense of external freedom, which is individual freedom, freedom of expression, and economic freedom. In such an educational environment, any excesses in the process of overdo and underdo are avoided and we distance ourselves from the one-dimensionalism that exists in each of the two schools. Among these, by synthesizing them in their foundations, a third concept called the foundation of internal-external freedom was enumerated; in the hybrid and synthesized educational foundation of internal-external freedom, there is unequal interaction because according to the situation, time and type of audience, the amount of each of these foundations becomes stronger and weaker and these foundations can be proportionally increased and decreased. Internal-external freedom means that on the one hand, the individual has the right to choose with reason and thought, and on the other hand, he can defend his private possession.
This foundation is inferred from the criticism, analysis and explanation of the micro-foundation in educational liberalism and the micro-foundation in educational neoliberalism. This foundation provides the conditions in the education system on the one hand to seek the nurturing of reason, the acquisition of virtues and values and the discovery of truth, and on the other hand to seek economic productivity. In the meantime, by synthesizing and modifying their bases, the foundation of human-economic wisdom was calculated; such a person, on the one hand, is able to make the right and rational decisions and, on the other hand, is able to earn a living. Such a person can use his scientific teachings with wisdom and intelligence in order to earn a living.
This foundation is inferred from the criticism, analysis and explanation of the foundation of happiness in educational liberalism and the foundation of happiness in educational neoliberalism. Happiness from the point of view of educational liberalism means understanding and comprehending facts; In other words, one is a happy human being who can achieve self-fulfillment, self-nurturing and human perfection (Batista,2014), but according to educational neoliberalism, happiness means paying attention to the appearances of material things and pleasures (Budaryar,1389:58). Among these, by synthesizing and adjusting their foundations, a third concept called excellence-welfare happiness is counted. Excellence-welfare happiness means a person who on the one hand seeks to understand and teach the truth and on the other hand a person who has material well-being.
This foundation is inferred from the criticism, analysis and explanation of the foundation of knowledge in educational liberalism and the foundation of knowledge in educational neoliberalism (Nussbaum, 1997). In educational liberalism, knowledge is sought for the value in itself. Knowledge should increase the skills of analysis and critical thinking. In educational neoliberalism, knowledge is intended for external purposes such as economic profitability. Theoretical-practical knowledge means that we can have a synthesis so that one can have both theoretical and practical knowledge, that is, a human being who on the one hand seeks the value of knowledge in itself, enlightenment and transcendence of the mind and the search for truth. On the other hand, he is a person who seeks to turn science into wealth and increase production, efficiency and economic productivity.
This foundation has been inferred from the critique, analysis and explanation of the foundation of education as a general matter in educational liberalism and the foundation of education as a specialty in educational neoliberalism. This foundation provides the conditions in the education system on the one hand to seek the development of the mind, personality, thinking and existence of students and on the other hand to seek professionalism and vocational training (Doherty, 2007). Advocates of educational neoliberalism argue that education should be pursued as a specialty and that the output of the education system should be specialized persons. Among these, by synthesizing and adjusting their foundations, a third concept called educational-professional knowledge is counted; This synthesis means that the individual is nurtured by learning practical training and practical abilities along with learning the appropriate educational content in a participatory and non-competitive educational environment in a way that, on the one hand, can grow with superior moral virtues and values in educational space and on the other hand, can be empowered with practical training suitable for creating his future job and profession.
This foundation is inferred from the criticism, analysis and explanation of the foundation of education as a valuable thing in itself in educational liberalism and the foundation of education to meet the needs of life in educational neoliberalism. In educational liberalism, knowledge has a special value. In educational neoliberalism, the purpose of education is to meet the needs of life. In the meantime, by synthesizing and modifying their foundations, a third concept called the foundation of valuable-living education was included; valuable-living education means that we can have a synthesis so that one can seek knowledge, virtue of knowledge and intrinsic values on the one hand and meet the needs of his life and livelihood on the other hand.
This foundation is inferred from the criticism, analysis and explanation of the foundation of education for the nurturing of the transcendent man in educational liberalism and the foundation of education for the nurturing of the entrepreneurial man in educational neoliberalism. In educational liberalism, education is a process that has no purpose beyond itself and an educated person is the ideal of education. Educational neoliberalism believes in nurturing entrepreneurial human being (Nami, 2005:65). In order to nurture an entrepreneurial generation, one should think of ways to increase the skills of individuals in the process of education (Lapavitsas, 2005).Among these, by synthesizing and adjusting their foundations, a third concept called transcendent-livelihood education is counted; That is, a person who, on the one hand, seeks to nurture humanity, perfectionism and the acquisition of moral virtues, and on the other hand, seeks skills, internships and professional education. Such a person, on the one hand, has dignity, and has a high human identity, and superior moral virtues and values, and on the other hand, with a special skill and profession, he is a person who is responsible for all activities in his field of work in a desirable and worthy way.
This foundation has been deduced from the criticism, analysis and explanation of the foundation of education for all in educational liberalism and the foundation of education as a private matter in educational neoliberalism. Plato considers education for all members of society and considers it the right of individuals (Naghibzade, 1995:42). Educational neoliberalism is the belief that privatization can be done to increase the quality and productivity of the educational system (Pring, 1987). Among these, by synthesizing and adjusting their foundations, a third concept called public-superior education is counted; That is, one can have both public education and superior education; Therefore, in such an atmosphere, on the one hand, human beings are faced with valuable matters and gain general and basic insights and knowledge, and on the other hand, human beings are confronted with purposeful and quality education, where the effort ultimately leads to choice of the right job is in the future. The important point is that re-conceptualizations can be considered hierarchically and this uneven interaction can be arranged like Maslow’s pyramid. In other words, our reconceptualization is presented in the form of this pyramidal shape; Based on Maslow’s view that human needs were hierarchical and pyramidal, we have also considered the re-conceptualized foundations as pyramids. In this figure, the foundations of educational neoliberalism are at the base of the pyramid (low-level needs) and the foundations of educational liberalism (high-level needs) are at the top of the pyramid. These foundations of reconceptualization can be unequal, meaning that man can, even without fully satisfying his foundational needs, turn to transcendent needs and seek to reach a higher level of self-existence, and vice versa. In other words, man can simply satisfy his low-level needs without paying attention to the transcendent needs of his own existence.
Neoliberalism as one of the contemporary ideologies has had a great impact on the education system, so that this impact is one of the challenges of advancing educational systems of the countries of the world and especially the education system of Iran; This ideology seeks to commercialize education and the value of 20,000 students and has introduced fundamental challenges in our model of moral-Islamic education; Therefore, our education is also influenced by this space, and consequently has a neoliberal color and smell. Therefore, to get out of the problems caused by the negative consequences of neoliberalism in the field of education and adjustment, we turned to the school of educational liberalism, but as stated, this school also has negative consequences in the education system. Thus, as can be seen, educational liberalism and neoliberalism, each with their weaknesses and challenges, cannot be considered as a desirable system for education alone; Therefore, we should turn to the third option called reconceptualization and by using comparative analysis and criticism of two approaches and presenting reconceptualization, provide a situation to a new plan, based on the strengths of both schools, an approach to get out of the current issues and problems of our country’s education system so that on the one hand the study of knowledge and thinking and learning becomes a lifelong occupation and on the other hand innovation and entrepreneurship in science and knowledge can be revived. The most desirable option is to re-conceptualize the foundational components of educational liberalism and educational neoliberalism, including the foundations of education and its characteristics. In other words, according to the analysis and explanation of the foundations and reconceptualization of the two schools, conditions were provided to achieve a consistent synthesis in education. Therefore, addressing this issue is one of the necessities of education in our country. In our country, few studies have been conducted on the criticism of educational neoliberalism by Bagheri (2015), Zibakalam, Mohammadi & Mirza Mohammadi (2017), and on the criticism of educational liberalism by Mirza Mohammadi & Zibakalam (2017). Our higher education system is a neoliberal space and there are manifestations of neoliberal concepts in them, but the present study, following the criticism of two schools, has presented the components of reconceptualization. As noted, neoliberalism has created destructive policies in education that seek to provide education with critical thinking and to promote neoliberal business values.
In the neoliberal environment, the quality of education decreases due to economic considerations, and the path to profitability shifts the goal of science to economic gain, and truth-seeking and scholarly research fade away. When everything is measured by profitability in education, there is no room for humanitarian ethics, and science that claims to serve human well-being becomes a weapon in the hands of capitalists to promote a culture of neoliberalism. It is important to note that in order to meet the great challenge that neoliberalism has created in our education system, we can take advantage of the approach that results from this research, which is the option of reconceptualization or the synthesized foundation. In accordance with the foundation of reconceptualization, one must face superior cultural and civic legacy and great works; From this perspective, we have a rich and superior history of cultural heritage, art, culture and high Iranian-Islamic civilization, and outstanding works and literature, and on the other hand, in the education system, we must meet the needs of students and the outcome of the education system should be the training of skilled, professional and entrepreneurial people who can use their knowledge in order to increase profitability, production and economic productivity without having a purely commodity and material view of science and knowledge. It should be noted that this synthesized foundation does not belong to the school of educational liberalism nor to the school of educational neoliberalism; rather, it is our own localized educational foundation that is based on the strengths of the two philosophical-educational approaches without having the negative points of these two approaches. Therefore, considering these issues, addressing this issue is one of the necessities of education in our country. In other words, since man is a combination of material and spiritual needs, therefore, through education, both the living needs and the transcendent needs of man must be considered. Philosophers of education in Iran should be sensitive to this issue given the emergence of neoliberalism in the country and warn policymakers to use the positive achievements of educational liberalism and on the other hand beware of the negative effects of educational neoliberalism on the education system in Iran.