Enlightenment Thought In New Zealand Schools

1594 words - 6 pages

In this essay I will be looking at how the political and intellectual ideas of the enlightenment have shaped New Zealand Education. I will also be discussing the perennial tension of local control versus central control of education, and how this has been affected by the political and intellectual ideas of the enlightenment.

The enlightenment was an intellectual movement, which beginnings of were marked by the Glorious Revolution in Britain. (Kramnick, 1995). The enlightenment movement continued evolving over the following centuries. The main aim of the enlightenment was to make the world more focused on the individual rather than the authority of one person. The individual was not longer under the control of a government that had been given authority from God. Kant (1995) described it as a “man’s release from his self-incurred tutelage.” (p.1). This is talking about the individuals right to use their own judgment and reasoning not just accepting what others say and whet they are told. Kramnick (1995) stated that enlightenment intellectuals believed “human reason, not faith or tradition was the principle to human conduct.” (Kramnick, 1995, p.xi). This focus on the individual is summed up by Kant (1995, p.1) said “Have courage to use your own reason.” This in other worlds is telling people to think for themselves. With the enlightenment movement being for the individual, the individual had to learn that there were now responsibilities for each individual to take on if society was to function properly. The focus of the enlightenment of the rights of the individual allowed people to be more free, as stated by Kant (1995) “if only freedom is granted, enlightenment is almost sure to follow” (p.2). The individual was set fee in three ways, politically, intellectually, and economically, their was no longer a hierarchy imposed by the Head of State, for example in England the King. (Kramnick, 1995). Nations were given the ability to select their own governments that server the people. This links the enlightenment to the ideals of liberal individualism, as both aimed for the individual to be free. Another Key idea of the enlightenment was the perfection of mankind. (Kramnick, 1995). This was the goal of completely removing inequality between nations and for humanity to be comfortable and happy. (Kramnick 1995).

During the 18th century Enlightenment period a major political idea was the separation of church and state. This political idea was also partially linked to the intellectual idea of science. The separation of church and state allowed for “public law to no longer enforce God’s higher truths” (Kramnick, 1995, xvi) people could make their own choices without the beliefs of others being forced upon them. As Scruton (1998) states “the aristocratic order had been destroyed” This also removed the exclusiveness of clerical privilege, this helped individuals to be equal and have equality with each other. (Kant, 1995). This ideal of equal opportunities...

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