ADAPTING TO MODERNIZATION IN A DYNAMIC SOCIETY
Posted on January 27th, 2020

BY EDWARD THEOPHILUS

When I look at opinions, readings and human behavior regarding the concept of modernization it seems that policymakers in Sri Lanka are in a difficult situation without a clear understanding of how it should be adapted to the society of Sri Lanka.  Not only in a theoretical sense but also in practical application modernization has become a difficult, gigantic, complex, critical and essential task. In the past, many viewed that Sri Lankans have been misunderstood modernization and many young absorbed negative message or changes as modernization in relation to many areas.  From different points of view and practical necessity, modernization defines as an essential task and a process of adapting to the future environment and to change the existing environment.  However, it is observed that the risk level of the modernization process is quite significant and the assessment of risk level should be a vital condition as modernization might be misinterpreted and represented by different persons.

I had an opportunity to watch a video on an intended or already published book (Hathe Ape Potha) on the internet on sex education.  The video showed a discussion among policymakers, and the specific publication intended as an apparatus for educators in the primary context of education in the country. When I was watching the videotape, I had a feeling that modernization in the education field has been misunderstood by some policymakers and it is mixed with either politics in the country or with ideological fallacies of a small group of so-called educated personnel. There is a vital problem in the country on how should people guide to be adapted to modernization. The other significant problem observed was the communication of modernization in the electronic and free media era is giving the right message to the mass community.

What is the meaning of modernization? It is a dynamic term that encompasses a broader spectrum of views. I researched a variety of points of view published on modernization and adapting to it and found that many scholars expressed homogeneous views but expressing views using different terms different points of view. Irwin (1975) expressed that modernization as a construct plays an important role in theories of social change”  This definition attempts to relate the modernization to social change and if anything that is not related to social change but is a significant theory that will make change in scientific or religious fields could not consider or dictate as a modernization?  The modernization is a process that observes at present and not an assumption which might occur in the future.  The understanding of the term modernization relating to the idea of Irwin’s concerns with theoretical speculation and conceptual definitions of the phenomenon than empirical references.  However, the term modernization is understood by Sri Lankans generally referring to practical changes in society they are living and they can observe it is effective in the society. The negative effect of the understanding of Sri Lankans seems that positive and negative consequences of change are considering or taking into practice as modernization.  Is its right way of practical understanding of modernization? What is the role of academics and educated professionals to scrutinize the society educating the right practice?

Benson (1971) referred to a total transformation and universal pattern that integrated with assumptions of modernization theory, which encourage the attempt to relate to each other, the different types of changes within and between levels.  There is no problem with the idea of Benson (1971) regarding the assumptions of modernization theory because modernization could refer to a total transformation and a universal pattern. The practical experience is that the transformation and universal pattern might relate to each other despite the opinion he expressed, it is difficult to clearly understand the point modernization is a process which relates to the past and could modernization begin with new inventions without relating to the past.  For an example, suppose science discovers human in another planet and they arrived in this planet and introduces a method which they use in their planet to generate human and such human will be more intelligent and capable of thinking different way and the practice could be applied in earth with its human. Could the new orientation support a transformation and such a sudden change be regarded as modernization?  

Tipps (1973) viewed modernization as a response to change, which might be a discrete process than a response to change.  If this definition accepts the correct meaning of modernization may be accepted as the right process of modernization expressing various views on sex education in Sri Lanka. In the past, people in Sri Lanka were not motivated to express views on sex education in public, now people talk on the subject and it reflects the change of society and it may regard as modernization of education.  Halpern (1966) pointed out a view that the capacity of the institution to adapt or to control rapid and continuous change is also a significant consideration in modernization.

Calla et al (2006) attempted to look at modernization with an operational point of view to place the locals as a continuum in an order. It is acceptable that modernization needs an operational process and a continuum as an order in society.  For example, sex education and including it to the school curriculum as an assessable component or not could be considered as modernization in the school curriculum in Sri Lanka.

It is observed that broad views expressed in the conference on sex education may have useful to educators and policymakers, however, some points expressed by participants who aligned to political parties or politics in society appeared as brainstorming which directly or indirectly attempting bog down the show to express irrelevant views and divert the main purpose of discussion to irrelevant area. Sometimes, it may have an attempt to justify what they believe or the education policymakers done as the right way of modernization of curriculum in the primary context. Legalization of prostitution and whether Buddhism is a religion or a philosophy or sexual infiltration or enhancements were not points should have been discussed as sex education for grade seven students by the discussion group. Adapting to modernization is a dynamic process but it is not a process that pursuing irrelevant points or going along the wrong way. This is the point that I mentioned before, some people in Sri Lanka misunderstood the modernization giving priority to wrong practices. 

The other vital point is that modernization should work in society as a relevant matter.  Although the incorporation of sex education to the school curriculum is an adapting to the modernization of education the implementation of the curriculum has limits and irrelevant points giving students and misleading students highlighting points that may not accurate or not comprehensible to students could not be considered as adapting to modernization.  The ability of students in grade seven to comprehend points that are involved in science, culture or behavior or philosophy is comparatively lesser than a person who studied in a university and integrated wider experience in social and other activities.  The education psychology guides that students at different levels should be educated comprehendible level of subject matters and adapting modernization would be successful if curriculum and teaching methods of education context are relevant.

Legalization of prostitution is not admissible subject matter for students of grade seven in the primary context the career choice in Sri Lanka would be students’ preference after completing secondary education and no schools in the world train students for a career choice in prostitution. The education process in the world has focused to educate kids in the primary contexts of relevant matters.

The world popular dictionaries define religion is a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects and religions involve in devotional and ritual observances and often containing moral code governing the conduct of human affairs  Same dictionaries define that the philosophical examination of the themes and concepts involved in religious traditions as well as the broader philosophical tasks of reflecting on the matters of religions.  Therefore, some define love for wisdom as philosophy.

Religions in Sri Lanka act within the meaning of definition and the definition of philosophy of religion is not relevant to the education level of students in grade seven.  When the government consults irrelevant people in education policymaking it would not be adapting to modernization. Attracting different points of view regarding various matters acceptable and policymakers should be wise enough to make considering appurtenant matters in the brainstorming process.

Adapting to modernization is a hard task in a dynamic society.

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