Schools, the modern incarceration of children

I tend to value freedom a lot, some people have an ear for music, some an eye for paintings, others a taste for food, myself, I have a keen sense of when someone steps on my personal liberty. Most of us think we live in a free society, but really, we just move from jail to jail.

According to the happy-go-lucky good looking, successful (and full of shit IMO) youngster portrayed in hindi movies “school years are the best years of my life” a brief browse on orkut or FB communities will blare this message to you quite bluntly.

I always felt like I was in prison when in school. If you have to live in this country, you HAVE to put your child in a school where he/she is a slave of the school teachers. What the child learns in the 6-7 hours in the classroom is decided by the State. This extends to what you wear, what you eat, when you eat it, what you can speak, what you can not speak, what you must learn, what you must not learn.

The end result is masses armed with BA BCom and third grade MBA degrees who then inspire shows like “kya aap paanchvi paas se tez hain” which is great to show how PhDs in geography dont know which continent Moldova is in.

Schools teach you that authority is always right and that if you do not do what you are told, you shall be punished.

Worse than that schools teach you to kill your natural need to learn and replace it with a slave-like habit of following set processes to gain admiration and love of your teachers and parents.

Schools decide that if a child has a natural talent for Physics , the child must get a good score in a bunch of randomly chosen questions in for an arbitrary syllabus consisting of all sorts of subjects.

Do most of you remember that the battle of stalingrad was the turning point of WWII ? Do you remember the names of all rivers in China ? What about the 5 great lakes in America.

Do you need to ?

Who is to decide that a certain child must learn only this much mathematics at this age ? And why is anyone making such decisions ?

Why must I spend 14 years of my life in a system where I have no say in what I wear or learn or play. Why must I be forced to study things I could have absolutely no use for, later in life.

Most rebuttals would be of the form “if you don’t like school, don’t go” but this is where the carefully constructed prison of schooling keeps you in the system, getting out means no access to mainstream education, no job opportunities, no chance to interact with peers, and getting shunned from society.

I dream of a place where children can go and read whatever they want to, or go to the playground if they really don’t want to read. Where they can sit and libraries and discuss and share what they think. Where they are FREE to learn what they want, when they want and talk to whoever they want to.

And where they can choose to go back home if they don’t want to stay.

The word “inculcate” is derived from greek where it means literally to grind with your heel, into the skull of the other person. I wish for a place with no inculcation.

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2 Responses to Schools, the modern incarceration of children

  1. Pramod Dubey says:

    I quite agree with you. One major foundation of the existing education system is as you mention “set processes” or standardization. A system that fails to recognize the needs of both much above and below the standards and this “one solution fits all” approach is the root cause of the torture that happens in name of education cos’ for all that we talk about equality and equal treatment , the fact is that “individuals” do not come in fixed shapes and sizes ( as much as the mass producing capitalist god would want them to ) and so here we are choking kids day in and day out though unsurprisingly enough not too many seem to of the suffering lot seem to be complaining cos on one hand , the system with its ruthless adherence to standards beats out the “individual” from the individual and secondly, crumbs are thrown in form of job security etc. to shut the mouths of those who still have some streak of individuality surviving in them. In the end its a “system” and there are costs of deviating from from set processes or norms and so the ones running show have no incentive whatsoever to change. the only hope is that someday “WE” or rather “I” start communicating my discomfort in a loud and clear voice. will end with a quote from William Blake “One law for the lion and Ox is opression”

    • Thanks Pramod, I read this book called Deschooling Society by Ivan Illyich which inspired me to write this post. I have always thought of education as despotic in nature and I began to see why. I highly recommend you read the book too.

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