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  • Eve

Talking about school...

This was a piece of GCSE homework to write a speech on any topic- so Eve chose to smash the education system! Her teacher's reply was 'Very interesting. Very provocative. Dare I say amusing?'- we're not sure amusing is the right word...

What is school for? Why do you think school was created? Who does school benefit? Does it fit the needs of present and future society?

The education system as we know it is only about 200 years old. Before that, formal education was reserved for the elite. But industrialisation changed this. Factory owners required docile, agreeable workers who would show up on time and do what their managers told them. Sitting in a classroom all day with a teacher was good training for that. Ever wondered why political change is rare? It's because school literally teaches you to accept rules you don’t agree with and never answer back. It is a tool of conformity. A machine that churns out robots that are unlikely to question anything.

Hands up who, if you don’t count seeing your friends, actively enjoys school. Like thinks it’s not just bearable but fun, exciting and inspirational. Well. that’s a bit of a problem isn’t it. How are we continuing to accept this? Kids get up too early to go to a place that flattens their creativity, forces them to wear uncomfortable matching outfits and values them on their ability to pass tests instead of emotional intelligence or compassion. Who thought it was a smart idea to put so much pressure on young children that they have panic attacks and sometimes even commit suicide? Who sat there and said ‘yeah, that’ll do.’`? 

In school, you can only go to the toilet when given permission, you’re stuck in rooms you can’t leave and your movement is controlled by bells. You’re expected to call teachers ‘sir’ or ‘miss’ to establish a hierarchy that tells you you are not equal and unimportant. You have to respect people even if they don’t respect you. Does this sound familiar? Yes, the school system was based on the prison system. Why is the expansion of imaginative, unique, powerful and incredible minds built on the same structure as the place where the government hides away their problems to avoid facing them? Because that’s what youth is to the government. Our energy and creativity is a problem. We must be repressed until we can enter society safely, posing no threat to the capitalist system.

Paulo Freire once said that ‘It is not systematic education which somehow molds society, but, on the contrary, society which, according to its particular structure, shapes education in relation to the ends and interests of those who control the power in that society’. We must change this. Education is beautiful and powerful, so why in the world are we wasting it?

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