To what purpose?
THEY are fascinating things, places or, if you please, “institutions”. Schools, that is.
Of course, in days gone by civilised societies saw value in the instilling of basic, fundamental knowledge and learning skills in its citizens so that they could conduct themselves in a sophisticated manner in pursuit of a balanced, productive and generally enjoyable lifestyle. If they chose to.
Thus, the state set up and financed schools where citizens would attend, listen, learn and, yes, go home (after three to four hours) to contemplate and work on the matters that had been taught. And to run their own lives.
As many of us recall, particularly in more impoverished environments such as my own experience in worn-torn Greece, the privilege of being given that opportunity to attend was vigorously counterbalanced by a revered culture of discipline and obedience.
No more, so it seems (“Violence, self-harm rife in public schools” The Advertiser, 8/6/18).
Orwellian mantra is now endowed in all aspect of “education”, whose aim seems to be less about fundamental knowledge than institutional absorption of every citizen’s behavioural tendencies and societal fit.
“… dozens of behaviour and wellbeing experts worked with families to improve parenting”, we are told by the education gurus.
And “The department also has a social work team that supports schools after suicides, self-harm and other incidents”, we are assured.
Pity my Year 6 teacher in the old country, battling to conduct three classes at a time at a school comprising an old disused two-storey home. He was not afforded such luxury.
He was busy teaching me the Archimedes principle, basic algebra and general principles of Euclid, as well as the components of the atom, sending me home thereafter but reminding me to be at church on Sunday. Or else!
I waited until Year 10 in this country for the rest to catch up. GEORGE CARABELAS,