Intolerance and role of education
Widely talked intolerance in India blaming one party for escalation or Donald Trump’s
utterance against non-Americans especially to Muslims or Sikhs or the cruelty against
Kurdish by ISIS or denial of European countries for the refuse’s entrance coming from
Syria any such incidences may have different political interpretations but has larger
connection to our societal upbringing and the education that is imparted world over. On
the International day for Tolerance observed on 16 November UN Secretary-General
Ban Ki-moon’s message as “the promotion of tolerance is particularly important in
today’s era of rapidly increasing globalization, mobility and interdependence. While
diversity is an invaluable asset, it can also be a source of tension. Tolerance can
defuse potential conflicts. It can help prevent theories of racial or cultural superiority
from emerging, and help societies to gradually overcome long-held prejudices and
Question is how we perceive intolerance. Not to believe in God or challenging its
existence can become intolerant behavior for others and upto that extend that the God
believers can openly exhibit their way of worships but non-believers need to restrain to
their homes only or questioning age old rules and regulation in current context can lead
to intolerance. Value judgment by popular beliefs and judging people on such
assumption as anti or pro society are the pertinent questions that needs to be asked.
As stated in the 1995 UNESCO [United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural
Organization] Declaration of Principles on Tolerance, tolerance is “the virtue that makes
peace possible [and] contributes to the replacement of the culture of war by a culture of
peace” According to sociologist world over intolerance is the global phenomena. "Emile
Durkheim, a founder of sociology, posited that there is a limit to the amount of deviant
behavior any community can 'afford to recognize.'" As behavior worsens, the community
adjusts standards so that conduct once thought reprehensible is gradually thought to be
normal. The online Stanford University Encyclopedia of Philosophy (SEP) explains that
"opposite assertions cannot be true at the same time" and suggests
that Aristotle believed that "the principle of non-contradiction [is] a principle of scientific
inquiry, reasoning, and communication that we cannot do without." In a world of social
and political tolerance, we do not inquire, we do not reason, we do not
communicate…we do not respect…we tolerate.
Oxford Dictionaries offers concerning the word intolerance:  : “1 Unwillingness to
accept views, beliefs, or behaviour that differ from one’s own: ‘a struggle against
religious intolerance’ ‘an intolerance of dissent’”
The dictionary reference website Dictionary.com defines “intolerance” as:
1. lack of tolerance; unwillingness or refusal to tolerate or respect opinions or
beliefs contrary to one's own.
2. unwillingness or refusal to tolerate or respect persons of a different social
group, especially members of a minority group.”
Intolerance is generally a condition in which people do not accept the practices or
behaviors by the people of different religion, cast or culture other than their own’s.
Intolerance is the separation of unity which creates the condition of dislike, refusal and
quarrel among the people of various groups.
Intolerance is the condition of failure which motivates people to dislike the practices,
opinions and beliefs of people related to another group.
Are we tolerant naturally?
I am trying to dig its philosophical and social connotation for the general understanding
before going to the role of education. Going by definition it clearly indicates that
expressing dissatisfaction over an individual’s or group of different culture over our own
beliefs and faiths leads to intolerance. But it normally exhibits within majority and
minority groups and role of state becomes important to secure divert feelings of divert
groups. But according to sociologists the primitive societies had mechanical solidarity
due to less division of labour and collective consciousness but these societies moved to
more complex systems this solidarity become organic and with more individual
consciousness for example solidarity in industrial era though it has been mechanical in
one way. It did not remain the same as emergence of classes bourgeoisie and
proletariat as described by Marx to Machevelli. The dialectic view propagated by great
philosopher Hegel in his dialectic framework guide our thoughts and actions into
conflicts that lead us to a predetermined solution. Dialogues and consensus-building are
primary tools of the dialectic, and terror and intimidation are also acceptable formats for
obtaining the goal.
John Adams wrote: "Public virtue cannot exist in a nation without private [virtue], and
public virtue is the only foundation of republics." Study of our human nature confirms
that left unbridled, it does not tend toward order or virtue. Human nature gravitates to
chaos. Rather than right a troubled world, tolerance allows it to turn upside-down. At
some point, we must choose, and fight boldly for, the principles that govern us.
Other form of intolerance as exhibited by Atheists, who denies of the existence
of God. This means that, by definition, atheism not only is intolerant, but must be
A great irony of atheist intolerance is that atheists are unable to provide proof and
evidence that atheism is true and have not rebutted the many compelling arguments for
the existence of God.
Education is one way to prevent intolerance:
Every country envisaged kind of citizen it requires to for its development and cohesive
society. This is achieved through education plan of that country and this plan directed to
aims of education. Education in any society aims to prepare citizens to participate in the
processes of social, cultural, and economic development, and environmental education
provides instruction about the threats to the natural environment and encourages
behaviors to overcome them. To the larger aims when we see ourselves as global
citizen due to intellectual and economic interdependence it seeks to facilitate peace-
building by securing principles of human rights and practice of democracy or socialism.
As recognized in various studies and documents by UNESCO that today’s educational
institutes especially of higher education becoming microcosms of cultural diversity of
global society and cross-cultural understanding has becoming a primary requirement of
a healthy learning climate in schools. Its campaign for tolerance and peace education
UNESCO directives makes tolerance and an integral and essential to realization of
human rights and achievement of peace.
Development of any culture in any point of time is the result of learning, which is primary
act of education.
Though value education around the peace and harmony without losing scientific
temperament for question general beliefs and assumptions must be the part of
elementary education. But it is essential at the level of higher schooling and collage
level where our education can contribute to the ready to act citizens to exhibit their
rational and non-threatening behavior. Therefore, role of teacher educators in both pre-
service and in-service becomes important.
Schools are the practical grounds to debate and analyze issues of discrimination,
mutual respect to all faiths and beliefs, accepting diversity, development and peace,
progress with harmony etc. State need to have impartial curriculum and curricula with
space to question and queries.
UNESCO publication on education on tolerance