Commentary

Education, and pedagogy: Why we need de-schooling

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Our society has fabricated a self-pitiable ‘education’ system in which qualifying exams has become a delusional testimony of how good or bad a person is.

A person who doesn’t perform well in solving meaningless tasks of school program – mostly monotonous, unimaginative, counter creative and barren – are looked down upon as inferiors and face a life long social rejection while others are made to believe that they are valuable because they could fit into the uncreative monotony of a lifeless repetition.

Yes, a lifeless repetition, reducing the idea of expression to a mere function of capitalist utopia and completely doing away with emotions, experience and authenticity.

Dostoevsky had started warning against such utopianism. Converting human being into a pianno key, a rational computer, a robot.

He was followed by people like Nietzsche, Freud, Marx, Jung, Adler, who showed to the western man that the problem with preaching “thorough going rationalism”, rational episteme, rational (blinding horizontal) mentality is that they wouldn’t be even aware & their subconscious & unconscious would be dragging them to places.

This capitalist utopia sorts us into categories from the very childhood.

I remember when we were in school we were taught not to sit with, or befriend, those who were weaker students than us. One of our famous professors would tell us that if we didn’t “study” we would end up being “dukandaars”. There were backbenchers and front seaters. When we could hardly differentiate a right from a wrong we had already been moulded into judging and discriminating between “them and us”, “doctor and dukandaar”, “superior and inferior”, “material prosperity and poverty”, we were initiated on a ‘Capitalist note’ and its profit driven definitions of right and wrong.

Capitalism-inspired education got us into the habit of measuring things, and of believing that what can’t be measured is either valueless or threatening.

The system trained students to conform to an alienated and class-stratified society, a society passive to realities of a social(ist) life. The class system in schools indoctrinated some children into feeling inferior to others, while others start believing they are better than the rest.

And it is this belief that the education system nurtures, the belief that some people are less valuable than others, hence helping in perpetuation of inequality and discrimination. The discrimination, the covet capitalist agenda is inculcated through a hidden curriculum that bases itself on principles of external rewards, subservience to the bourgeois norms, and an utmost focus on competition rather than team work.

Fidel Castro compares competition to hypocrisy and war when he finds “capitalism repugnant, filthy, gross and alienating… because it causes war, hypocrisy and competition.”

Capitalist pedagogy reduced student achievement to mere income and employment, with absolutely no role in social justice and inclusion. It laid the cornerstone of the neo-liberal consumerism which has plagued the whole social fibre of the world.

As Michael Moore said, “Capitalism is an organized system to guarantee that greed becomes the primary force of our economic system and allows the few at the top to get very wealthy and has the rest of us riding around thinking we can be that way, too – if we just work hard enough, sell enough Tupperware and Amway products, we can get a pink Cadillac.”

The greed is imbibed from the earliest, through a reward driven repetitions of school system.

Schools in the current times are institutions set up to fulfil the popular political narratives. Spending the first quarter of their life in school, children are taught to do exactly what they are asked to. They are indoctrinated into conformism, and scepticism towards the higher authority is discouraged.

They are subtly manipulated into believing in the infallibility of official figures and accounts. They grow up with a notion that large media agencies are the most trusted source of information. Focus on life skills, civil freedoms and liberties is diminished. Once children leave the capitalist school they are unable to question its authority, they are rendered incapable of their own observations about the nature of events and are unable to find a meaning in anything beyond what is proposed by the ‘political’.

Kozol wrote in 1975: “School does not exist to foster ethics and upheaval. It exists to stabilize the status quo. It exists to train a population which is subject to the power of such instruments of mass persuasion as the social order has at hand. It exists to get its citizens prepared for moral compromise. The first and primary goal of the U.S. public school is not to educate good people but good citizens. It is the function which we call in enemy nations,’state indoctrination’.”

The only point of view possible to us (including me) is the capitalist point of view.

Capitalist philosophy has assumed almost an ontological form. It is crime against current standards of humanity to question science and its industry, to doubt the education and its indoctrination, to put class segregation and its watchdogs at stake, to see prodigious mechanisation as gigantic rape of everything intimate. Anything sane spoken against those these scandalous standards sounds outrageous.

And it is precisely this that all of us need de-schooling, if we want a social change.
Khawar Khan Achakzai is a published author, a medical Doctor by profession, and a student of history. 

 

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