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Role Of "Bildung" in Education in Different Countries

Umut Akdağ

There are different points can be defined as ‘Bildung’ with different meanings. Bildung refers to the German tradition of self-cultivation, where philosophy and education are linked in a manner that refers to described as a harmonization of the individual’s mind and heart and unification of selfhood and identity within the broader society, as evidenced by the literary tradition of bildungsroman. In this sense, the process of harmonization of mind, heart, selfhood, and identity is achieved through personal transformation, which presents a challenge to the individual’s accepted beliefs. In Hegel’s writings, the challenge of personal growth often involves an agonizing alienation from one’s ‘natural consciousness’ that leads to reunification and development of the self. Similarly, although social unity requires well-formed institutions, it also requires a diversity of individuals with the freedom to develop a wide – variety of talents and abilities and this requires personal agency. This was a short and general explanation of Bildung. But here we will mostly focus on its meaning which deals with education. İn this sense the fact question is that ‘ is the Bildung model possible in every system of education? If it is not possible why? And what are the most important factors which obstacle this?

If we are doing a general explanation of ‘Bildung’ for education is that education involves the shaping of the human being about his/her own humanity as well as his/her innate intellectual skills. So, the term refers to a process of becoming that can be related to a process of becoming within existentialism. In this context, the concept of education becomes a lifelong process of human development, rather than mere training in gaining certain external knowledge or skills. Bildung is seen as a process which in an individual’s spiritual and cultural sensibilities as well as life, personal and social skills are in the process of continual expansion and growth. Bildung is seen as a way to become more free due to higher self-reflection. In this sense, it may be seen that ‘Bildung’ and ‘education’ are on the same line. Also , they are the same but not for the education system of every country. If we focus on areas in which is possible to apply the ‘Bildung system’ there are places which can be listed. But before that, we can list factors which have an influence on this.

There are some different factors that enable to use Bildung system. For example facilities of universities. ‘Bildung’ mainly means self-development and freedom. Every person has different interests from each other. So, every student should have the option of choosing their own course. Many metropolis countries have these types of schools. Like Germany. So if we give an example for this, Germany will be at the top of the list for countries which are appropriate for the Bildung system. Already, Bildung has proposed firstly by Humboldt in Germany. Another requirement is economic. Every country has its own economic policy. Some of them mostly focus on universal trade(or any other..etc.) and they ignore education. But on the other hand, some of them deal with education. Germany is one of the most important countries which has a wide budget for education. Also just having a wide budget is not enough to apply a qualified Bildung idea. Education policy is highly important at this point. The education ministry may be spending money which is a high amount. But for what? If they are spending money just for technological products, it does not mean that this ministry is working very well. Because spending a lot of money for something is not equal to it is being done very well. Students may have very technological products at school. (Tablet, PC..etc.). But if as institute they do not have a qualified institute, Bildung is not possible there. For engineering, medicine…etc. these students should have the chance of practicing. They must do some things practically. If people are not able to find an area in which they do their jobs according to necessity, Bildung would not work very well. Germany can be an appropriate country for Bildung from this point. Also, England is a country like that. Its prosperity enables this system.

Another point is that the welfare of the public as economically. There are these types of institutions in some countries but it is not enough. Because they are highly-priced. Especially in capitalist countries. It is difficult to study in a qualified school that has good institutions. Because people are separating from each other so sharply. One side is really rich and the children of families can have a really good education life. On the other hand one side is really poor and the children of these types of families can not. If there is a difference amongst the public, this situation means that the Bildung and education may not be possible to be on the same line.

Another factor is religion. Because religion is so severe in some areas. Like Arabic and some Asian countries. Hence, the policies are designated according to the rules of religion. This factor is more when we compare with other factors. Because religion is not just related to the decisions of government. It is also connected with the public. So,when government decides to apply a new policy, it should be in harmonious with the rules of religion. Even for republics. Because one country may be managed by the system of the republic but this does not mean that government can determine the policies according to just one way by ignoring the other factors. Because even in this situation, there is still a public, and the majority of them depend on faith. When you put a policy that does not correspond with the public’s faith, you can not apply it exactly. Because the majority of public will not enable it for their children. For instance, many technologic developments are not allowed in many Arabic countries. Because of the faith which is dominant in this area. So ‘Bildung’ will not be possible in these types of areas.

There is one more thing that we can say as an obstacle factor is the cultural variety of the population. As It has been stated that at the up, according to the idea of Bildung, persons should be free about choosing their institutes according to their interests. But if we think that for a multicultural country, it may not be possible. Because when you think of a country that has a lot of different cultures, that means that this country or region has a lot of different types of students. Also, cultural properties too have an important influence on the thought systems of people. But the government can not find a new institute for every cultural interest. I mean that there are even institutes just for religion. Bildung wants to have a wide range of education for freedom and self-development. For these types of countries too, Bildung may not be possible.

In other contexts too, there are different criticisms about disabilities of Bildung;

‘‘The concept of ‘Bildung’ is still alive: a good example is the way the common European framework of reference for languages, has been discussed within the ‘German Speaking Academic Community’. The main concern is about the reductionists , one-sided instrumental – functional concept of language learning , which ignores educational dimensions or , in other words , to be a danger in the CEFR that the individual learner with his/her own interests , biographies and purposes would not be taken seriously,especially because of the schematic representation of language development based on the scales of competence and their descriptors.’’

Bildung is a central motif of Hegel’s 1821 Philosophy of Right, in which he illuminated the concept by repeating the advice of a Pythagorean philosopher to a father about the best way to educate his son: “Make him the citizen of a state with good laws. Thus the Philosophy of Right highlights the political connotations of Bildung. Bildung requires a well-ordered society in which the individual has the freedom, and even luxury, to develop his unique talents and abilities. Bildung also requires a society in which there is scope for all kinds of complementary individuals and activities because exposure to different kinds of people and experimentation with different types of lives is crucial to the sort of moral development Hegel had in mind.’’

As a consequence ‘Bildung’ may be a good idea of education. Especially in countries which have a good economic budget for education workings. Like; Germany, England..etc. But on the other hand, it is not possible to apply it to the education system of every country. (Arabic countries, Asian..etc.) Because as we sum up in the up paragraphs, there are many factors that are obstacles this model. Yes, when it is possible, it may be so useful for the development of countries. Also to provide a more qualified education for people. Because it has many useful advantages. But when it is tried to apply in a country that is full of obstacles, it can result in a failure.

The infinity of learning shows people how little they know.

Edward Young


REFERENCES (n.d.). The idea of Bildung in the current educational discourse: A response to Irene Hidt.

Institute of Education, University of Zurich. (n.d.). German ‘Bildung’ and education of teachers. Retrieved from

Wikipedia. (n.d.). Bildung. In Wikipedia. Retrieved from

University of Central California, Department of Philosophy. (n.d.). [Title of specific page]. Retrieved from

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Enes Yörükoğlu
Enes Yörükoğlu
Oct 05, 2023

Sevgili kardeşim, ellerine, emeklerine, kalemine ve klavyene sağlık. Bu güzel araştırman ve yazın için çok teşekkür ederim. Sağlığın, mutluluğun ve başarıların daim olsun.

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