Wednesday, 4 June 2014

A Bold Comment Declaring Education’s Failure (excluding my alphabetical sensibility)

In attempts to get some sort of handle on the world’s current problems, a neat label, the three Es, standing for Energy, Economy and Environment, has sprung up. These three systems are massive, complex and interconnected, but so are Facebook, Fashion and Fame – let’s call them the three Fs. So when someone claims that the problems of the world are too big and complex to think about, I say bullshit.

What I believe has happened is that our culture, primarily perpetuated by the 13 or so years of Compulsory, Competitive and Commodified schooling  (the three Cs), has effectively stopped us from questioning and thinking about anything of real importance - and don’t try to tell me that celebrities, or tourist destinations, or professional sports are important.

Now we do get all puffed up, even politically, about Education, but all that hot air boils down to throwing money at ways to increase the measurable performance scores of the next generation. Any decent parent will inform you of the financial sacrifices they are prepared to make, and that are necessary, for their kids to get ahead in the real world.  They know that the bits of paper handed out on completion are the tickets to a prosperous and happy life that they are happy to pay for  - and even happy  for the government to tax us for so they can chip in as well. These same parents, when their 17 or 18 year olds, who didn’t get into medicine or law, run berserk at "schoolies”, don’t ask “what are we actually doing to our children?” but instead judge the youth of today as lazy, spoilt, disrespectful and ungrateful.  So the oft touted remedy that kids these days should get away from their computers, and off their iphones, and get outside, and climb a tree, is an insult considering we lock them up in classrooms, demand they master the latest technology, and when we do allow them outside, say on an excursion to the beach, we tell them they can’t take their shoes off because of Health and Safety Policy!

The predicament that the human species finds itself in needs serious and critical contemplation, not by the privileged few with time on their hands, but by the masses -  who despite years of schooling and further education find themselves on the 24/7 treadmill of consumption and debt slavery.  Unfortunately schools, and now even the universities as well, have become institutions that, with impunity, effectively crush the innate human capacity to question and learn.


A Poem for the modern world from C to F

Compulsory, competitive, commodified  culture, crushing curiosity and creativity.
Damning all denizens to a destiny of debt, dullness, denial and doom.
Exponential exploitation of energy, environment and economy to the edge of extinction.
Fumbling in a farcical fog of facebook, fashion and fame, in fear of food, famine and failure.

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