I am very fond of the subject of Education, which is understandable as I am a human resource manager. Recruiting a competent person who can bring a positive impact and help the organization in achieving its goal is a real pleasure. The pleasure is even greater when the person is also fulfilling his own objectives within the organization. It is therefore natural that I often wonder about, the purpose of teaching in our schools, colleges and universities, its method also intrigue me as well. There is this Grant Allen’s statement made famous by Mark Twain which says, “do not let your schooling interferes with your education” and is very meaningful in our globalized world. To understand this quote, we need to look for the meaning of SCHOOLING and EDUCATION, then we will need to see how the disruption occurs.
“It takes experience to get a good job, it is what companies are looking for. Recruiters analyze CVs, looking for keywords. They are looking for the university where the degrees were obtained. The number of years of experience.” That’s still what many people believe today. This research system corresponds to the old industrial revolution, with mass production of Taylorist and Fordist enterprises.
Although these practices didn’t disappear totally, the dynamics that have changed today began with the liberalization of goods, finance and recently knowledge. Many people do not know what businesses are really looking for today. Recruiters thanks to the rise of new communication technologies, the data and the knowledge made available, are now looking for skills and knowledge.. The new recruitment softwares make it possible to identify the predisposition of the candidates to develop certain skills and companies are looking for this today too.
It is interesting to take a closer look at the evolution of a person recruited at the bottom of the ladder that climbs that ladder to become a department manager, this is a common case in companies. How does this thing work? Well, the employee in question does not have long gap years out of the enterprise to train, no, he acquires within the enterprise a certain expertise that develops over time by devoting each day on the same thematic. As he progresses, he will be sent in training that usually lasts two months or three weeks and even sometimes we talk in terms of days. These training are focused on a theme that provides the knowledge needed to meet the performance needs of the company. He returns from his training with additional skill and evolves gradually.
This is the first thing that concerns me in the current education system. Students will spend very little time on many different topics. Each day at university, students will be confronted with several different courses, and they will be asked to master all these subjects even if they will not be useful in the future. Yet companies do not educate their employees like that. The school system does not evolve with the problems of the society. There is no adaptation to the territory context. Education tends to be standardized and to respond only to the needs of large industries. The consequence of this alignment is that academic education is moving away from its main purpose, that of educating men.
Universities are part of the market logic that Sandels explained to us in his intervention in “the moral limits of the markets”. If students are pursuing good grades and diplomas, universities on their side are running after global rankings, lobbying and networks. The goal is to produce as many academic articles as possible, to do the most research. These are the criteria that go into the performance judgment of an educational system on the market. The globalization of the economy is hugely affecting social dynamics. The law of supply and demand and the presumed neutrality of the economy legitimize persistence in archaic modes of education.
“To succeed in society, you have to have diplomas”
“To succeed in society, you have to have diplomas in big schools”
“To succeed you have to have a network and experience”
“If you do not go to school and you do not have a diploma, you’re going to fail your professional life”
These are the common denominators of a society driven to irrational consumption. The children are educated with this philosophy and their life revolves around this information. Their goals are therefore to succeed in school in order to be accepted in the society. Access to all its privileges (diplomas, schools, networks and experiences) is not free. To have Access to these good universities, which offer a professional network at the end of the course the fees are very high. Most of the time these fees are not within the reach of everyone. There is therefore an exclusion criterion that eliminates straightaway a category of people bellow a certain level of income.
In his article “still separate, still unequal”, Jonathan Kazol highlights the instrumentality of the educational system to restrain the opportunities of minorities. This is also another consequence of the alignment of the educational systems on economics. In the article, we understand that the teachings of schools and universities are adapted according to the origins of children, and what is expected of them. It is therefore a question to predispose children to certain jobs. They are not administered knowledge but skills, which do not allow their intellectual development but rather their adequacy to certain jobs. The way school’s programs are conceived in the US in certain suburbs increase the school drop-out rate and academics failure. This reflects well the fact that the school is the reflection of the politics, or an instrument serving the market society.
Going further in my understanding of the signification of the title of this article, I believe it can be read as: “don’t let the culture of schooling interfere with your education”. The culture of schooling is to put it simply how the school has infiltrated everyday lives.
Carol Black writes that the schooling culture is based on separation. The children are separated from the world around them, their family and home community, yet they need this environment to learn successfully. The children need to learn in mixed age groups where they can look to the older children for guidance and role modeling. This enables them to be ready to do so for younger children when it is their turn. But schooling don’t allow this learning to occur because of segregation by age, as classrooms are usually constituted with childrens of the same age. School also helps to privilege some few elite languages over all other forms of human expression and creation. This discrimination plays a particularly important role in acculturation. People tends to distrust their local languages, and then lose their originality and culture.
The overdue control in schools doesn’t teach knowledge to children but obedience. The competition and ranking system encourages individualism within classrooms when children naturally learn through collaboration.
The standardization in schools implies to learn through explicit evaluation and impose uniformity. This tends to convey that diversity is a problem, which must be removed if society is to progress. It also reduces the spaces and opportunities for “valid” human learning by demanding that they all be funneled through a centrally controlled institution. This situation creates artificial divisions between learning and home, work, play and spirituality. Another problem that comes from this is the discredit of other forms of learning and intelligence. The society tends to believe that the only valuable form of intelligence and knowledge comes from teaching in schools. This leads to labeling, ranking and sorting human beings. It finally creates a rigid social hierarchy consisting of a small elite class of highly “educated” and a large lower class of “failures” and “illiterates” based on level of school achievement.
The culture of schooling confines the motivation for learning to examinations, certificates and jobs. It suppresses all non-school motivations to learn and kills all desire to engage in critical self-evaluation. It centralizes control over the human learning process into the state-market nexus, taking power away from individuals and communities. The compartmentalization of knowledge, human’s beings and the natural world, unlinks knowledge from wisdom, practical experiences and specific context.
The notion of school culture is also well observed recently among the students. They tend to collect multiple diplomas in different fields of study. This reassures them that it will increase their chance to find a well-paid job in life. That will also allow them to be more eligible to mobility within the enterprise. As a matter of fact, I understand the methodology. The problem here lies in the fact that this type of schooling doesn’t help the recruiters. Multiple diplomas show that the student have an all rounded academic education, but it doesn’t show where their strengths are. One becomes educated not by the time he spends in schools, but by the time he spends on reading and writing within a field he appreciates and loves.
We can easily understand that spending long periods of time in schools for diplomas and degrees doesn’t mean that a person is educated.
If I was asked how I would like schooling to be, I will recommend that enterprise and organization hire people earlier. Why? Because the length of academic education consumes a lot of time in a person life. I tend to understand that organization no matter what degree you have, will reeducate you according to their objectives and goals. Schools also can’t give you experience.
I have an idea on the school routes which I keep maturing. It would be an educational unique block which would take place between the age of five years to twenty years. The major part of teachings to students for this period will concern the human sciences, the philosophy, the languages, the literature appropriate to every context. This first part will allow to forge the critical mind of the students.
The second part will consist in administering basic knowledges in exact sciences. The examinations would not exist, but the information on the students would allow to establish for each one their profile of learning. Thus, psychology tests will be set up not to manage the training of the students until they reach twenty years towards the subjects which interest them and in whom they progress well.
This would change totally the dynamics of schools. The children would grow up by supplying information to schools on their aspiration, which in turn would design custom-made programs insuring the children to grow properly, to study by developing talents which fits with their personality.
This teaching method underlies that the guides would possess skills to understand the different profiles and to adapt teachings, and the use of elaborate algorithm through data analyses softwares. The most important work would thus be to establish for every student a file which details their profiles, capacities and talents, what the student develops a predisposition for, and their psychological profile.
This is possible with the evolution of the NTIC, the algorithms and the Big Data. It is these documents that companies will consult and not diplomas. Companies afterward will be responsible for the specialization of the young people of their release of the school, because as we state it above, the training in a company is more dynamic and more effectively personalized. The recruitment would be made only by the adequacy between the profile of the young people obtained on the scorecard conceived by the guides and the profiles which companies look for.
If there is a match the company would propose a contract to the student who would correspond to him and would allow him to continue his education in the professional active world. The company would then have a student who joins it by conviction and adequacy. The program of the vocational trainings would be already established by the human resources managers.
It would solve many problems. Of course, my method deserves to be developed further because I do not dedicate it all of my time, I must finish t my master’s degree, look for internships to validate it and think of becoming profitable to start a family. I will certainly have time later for this.
All there is to understand here, is that there is a problem in the actual way of organizing school’s education. This organization is missing its real purpose, confusing people on which values they must look for. The institutionalization of schools and the instigation of market society in it is one of the reason of this confusion. Michael Sandels in “the moral limit of market” draws our attention on the evolution of the market economy today. If at the beginning the economy was used as a tool to organize the production of goods, today SANDELS makes us understand that we are moving from a market economy to a market society where the market way of thinking gradually reaches all scales of everyday life as education, personal relationship, health, civil duties. So much that it is now possible to put a price on almost everything and there lies all the evil. According to SANDELS the most thing that can be bought with money, the more painful it will be to be poor..
Imagine, if money defines as it does now, access to good quality health services or not, living in a peaceful neighborhood or a bad neighborhood, access to good or bad education, political choices, we can therefore understand the evil that stems from the fact that gradually everything starts to be labeled and to have a price. This evolution towards a market society makes the subject of inequality in society even more considerable. SANDELS makes a point by questioning the neutrality of the economy, the economist’s thinking that market exchange does not affect the nature of the goods exchanged. Because as he says; putting a price on goods poses the problem of corruption of the meaning of this good when the good imply moral values. Because money has the tendency to empty meaning of goods that do not have a market value by their nature and thereby trivialize them. And there is the bad in the market society we are moving towards.
If the market activity extends to goods that have moral values and questions such as determining which goods should be sold and which ones should not. What are the values put into play by this or that good? Would allowing commercial activities on one or another good not render it meaningless raise to economist, the economy cannot be considered as a science of neutral choice that does not influence the nature of the goods traded. It should rather be seen as a reconnection with political and moral philosophies.
This position of neutral choice is all the attraction of the market. it gives this ability to avoid the debate about the character of the goods at stake, to avoid all the controversy and clash that can result of these debates, or avoid the problem of imposing values of some people to other people in a democratic country, by relying on this neutrality and let the economy decide it by itself, which leads to the emptiness felt in political speeches accentuating the frustration of the peoples living in these democratic countries.
Towards the end of his speech, the speaker dwelt on an economic thought which considers, altruism, love, sympathy as virtues whose intensity diminishes with the use, and which wants that economists economize them. Which explains the fact that the economy relies on selfishness and explains somehow this stance of neutrality of economy who tends to preserve the scarcity of these virtues by reducing in the society their use.
SANDELS want us to understand that virtues are not like commodities or goods whose utility diminishes with the use but must be considered as muscles which develop with exercises, and the evolution towards a market society instead of preserving these virtues like believe the economists, give less and less opportunities to practice the development of these virtues.
By Kevin Kowu, 2017-2018 year group of M2 IESCI at the University of Angers
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