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July 17, 2019

Knowledge and Education

Now, a new era, a new age is upon us. It is, as we all know, “Knowledge-age”. So, in this day and age, we have such terms as “knowledge-based economy”, “knowledge-driven world”, “knowledge exploration”, “constant learning society” etc, so widely used that they become catch words. To keep pace with the current trend, the government of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar has laid down its own education policy and vision. I think state education policy and vision may be mentioned as follows:-
“To create an education system that can generate a learning society, capable of facing the challenges of the knowledge age.”
To win the public support and appreciation in the state education policy, our daily newspapers and our state schools carry the state’s motto. “Let’s build a modern and developed nation through education.”
To be in line with the state education policy and to be able to respond to the globalization challenges, and to suit the changing needs of the society and rapid development of technology. I, as a former magistrate, would like to sincerely and yet strongly advise the judicial officers to pursue eagerly and earnestly a constant learning goal.
In this connection, I would like to present my views on education. It is my sincere views and firm belief as well that “no educative process is ever the end; it is always the beginning of more education, more learning, more living. “In other words, I would like to say that we should learn and grow as the years go by. Why? Simply because learning is a never ending process and simply because we can’t afford to be left behind the rapidly changing world. Concerning the light of knowledge and education, I would also like to recite to you a short poem from memory.
Well, if freely and loosely translated, I think it would read as follows:
“Of the lights, fire light, moon light and sun light.
Moon light is brighter than fire light, Sun light is
brighter than moon light.
Ah, the light of knowledge is the brightest of all. No light is there brighter than the light of knowledge. As such, Lord Buddha, has preached.”
Therefore, all and sundry, each and everybody should strive to acquire knowledge.
A good knowledge is just like a Badeithabin tree—a tree of plenty, an inexhaustible store.
Let’s now see what the western philosophers had said on knowledge and education.
Greek Philosopher Aristotle said, “Only the educated are free.”
Benjamin Franklin pointed out, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”
Henry Adams had this to say, “They know enough who know how to learn.”
Well, there is a widely accepted and highly appreciated old saying which simply and yet effectively goes “knowledge is power.”
Now in this knowledge age where will we stand if we don’t get ourselves involved in it?, and if we are not keen on learning constantly and expanding our horizons? Well, we will be left behind, we will be sidelined. It is simple as that. Therefore, another question is, why should judges participate in judicial education programmes?
As regard this particular question, I think, I can’t do any better than to quote the salient points from an article written by Justice R.D. Nicholson, Judge of the Federal Court of Australia, who gave the reasons as follows:
*    In the case of education relating to the law, the judiciary is required to keep up with changes and further its understanding of the existing law.
*    In the case of administration, the judges need to be working in tandem with court registries to progress cases and achieve the best within limited budgetary provisions.
*    Public and professional confidence in the courts is maintained and enhanced by the display of willingness to learn. So the principle of judicial independence is enhanced.
Here, I would also like to emphasize a principle from the same article: “the cardinal principle of judicial education, for it to be successful, is that it must be judge-managed.”
And another one more question is: what should be the content of judicial education? Judicial education may be delivered in relation to:
Improving a judge’s knowledge of the law;
Improving a judge’s skills in judicial administration, and
Contributing to a judge’s understanding of the society in which he or she is administering justice.
In conclusion, I would like to advise you, on the strength of the following words of wisdom, to keep on learning and get better every day.
“Knowledge is not static. It is accumulating and expanding all the time. In the quest for knowledge there must be a strong will and perseverance.”
“We should create a desire and dedication to update and upgrade ourselves continuously.”
“Knowledge is power” seems to have quite a following these days.”
The object of education should be to increase the usefulness of man, usefulness to himself, and usefulness to others.”
*****

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