To what pur­pose?

The Advertiser - - LETTERS -

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,

Mt Barker.

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