Posts tagged ‘Leadership’

Modern schooling: factories for producing worker bees

School kidsWatching and participating in my children’s education is a fascinating experience. What stands out more than anything else is the level of homework they are required to do on a regular basis and the amount of discipline required in avoiding penalties.

In the minds of a nine and seven year old children, ‘discipline’, however, equals ‘restrict creativity’ and ‘control your excitement’. So it got me thinking: why does the British education system curtail children’s creativity, enthusiasm and their desire to be happy? Here’s what I discovered.

Although education systems have been around since ancient times  as communities desired to pass on their own values, culture, religion and skills to the next generation. During the Early Middle Ages, the monasteries of the Catholic Church were the providers of education.

Women’s education in Europe was severely restricted until the nineteenth century. The education system in England has been reformed many times, including the introduction of the current national curriculum by the New Labour government. 

However, the modern education as it stands across the world is controversial, to say the least. It’s based on the Prussian education system  and is the foundation of modern education across the world. The Prussian system instituted compulsory attendance, specific training for teachers, national testing for all students (used to classify children for potential job training), national curriculum set for each grade, and mandatory kindergarten.

Seeking to replace the controlling functions of the local aristocracy, the Prussian court attempted to instill social obedience in the citizens through Bismarckindoctrination. Every individual had to become convinced, in the core of his being, that the King was just, his decisions always right, and the need for obedience paramount.

The schools imposed an official language to the prejudice of ethnic groups living in Prussia. The purpose of the system was to instill loyalty to the Crown and to train young men for the military and the bureaucracy.

The Prussian education system now proliferate the entire global education system. When one gets to grips with these origins, the real truth and intentions behind those controlling the education systems begin to unfold.

The German philosopher, Johann Gottlieb Fichte, a key influence on the system, summaries the intention of the Prussian education system very aptly:

“The schools must fashion the person, and fashion him in such a way that he simply cannot will otherwise than what you wish him to will.”

Our current education system, no matter where we are in the world, has been designed to create worker bees that have neither courage nor conviction to question anything. Creativity is stifled from a tender age and mediocrity and subservience is expected from the masses.

This mindset is expected to be carried and is carried into the workplace. Very few question the motives of manages and employers at the work place in fear of humiliation or, worse, being fired. Those that do quite often do become queen bees.

If I wish for my children to excel as human beings, then it is incumbent on me to find alternative sources of education that raises their consciousness instead of restricting it.

How about your children? What do you think they would want to be when they grow up? A worker bee or a queen bee?

Harun Rabbani

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May 23, 2009 at 23:15 1 comment


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