Educational researcher: Upbringing has fallen by wayside in society

Tiiu Kuurme
Tiiu Kuurme Source: Kairit Leibold/ERR

Educational researcher Tiiu Kuurme says that upbringing has become somewhat invisible in society, adding that she considers the universities providing vocational education to be one of the reasons why there is no new generation of intellectuals, who can see the big picture. This is not a development peculiar to Estonia, but a broader tendency, she says.

Kuurme who was invited to talk about upbringing in the Vikerraadio's morning program, its relative invisibility means that it has started to develop in its own way and slowly, while signs of this have started to appear in society.

"The lack of upbringing starts with the fact that the character of the era has changed so powerfully. The fact that child-rearing has receded is a somewhat objective process. The way children were raised in the past; that doesn't work anymore. People have completely different ideals now," Kuurme said.

The researcher said that upbringing is always very closely connected with the general zeitgeist, while people's childhoods have transformed, what people live for has changed, and attitudes towards freedom, another person, society have also altered.

"It can also be said that we are currently living in an era of great loneliness, although, on the other hand, paradoxically, people are herding together, there is a herd mentality , there is a mass culture, yet at the same time there is great loneliness."

As a point of concern, Kuurme pointed out that students in higher education study educational science subjects as elective courses, vocabulary and emphases have changed. Kuurme said that these changes are based on a new ideology called the neoliberal turn.

"Neoliberalism does not value major topics, big narratives, but upbringing is a big narrative of humanity. So that focus fell away," she noted. Kuurme pointed out that on the one hand, we still recognize the fact that universities should be like a brain in society.

"But in practice, we see how general subjects disappear in universities, how students don't want them, they want practical skills, they want to go to a vocational school, not to a university. Then of course seeing such a big picture may not develop. I would claim that it's not a local choice, there is a much broader trend - universities turning into vocational schools," Kuurme said.

Kuurme addd that it is necessary to keep the focus on upbringing because it is functional and the child asks for upbringing. "The child themselves will not allow the adults around them to go without raising them. Here, we need help from science to explain the great changes we have made that would be good for children today. It would be possible to take from it what is reasonable and good to do, how to even advise parents, how to explain working situations," the researcher suggested as a possiblee solution.

Kuurme said that this topic, in particular, should reach the consciousness of young people. "Since there are so few of us here on earth, because so many of us have been destroyed in all kinds of power games."


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Editor: Roberta Vaino

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