|foto credits:Jamie Mcintyre|
Secondly; education plays an important cultural role. One of the reasons that we educate people- particularly our young people- is to initiate them into the cultural values, traditions and ways of thinking that characterise our communities. This is one of the reasons why there's such a heated contest over the content of a curriculum. Whenever people try to create divisive standards or curricula, it quickly becomes a very heated discussion... Education is a high-stakes cultural process, and this is something we have to recognise given how important cultural identity is in a precarious world; indeed many of the major conflicts that continue to plague humanity have cultural origins rather than economic.
Thirdly; education plays an important social role. We expect education to play a role in helping students understand how their societies work and how they can play a part in them. Particularly within democratic societies, as John Dewey once said, "every generation has to rediscover democracy." I... Education has to pass on the knowledge, understanding and willingness to participate in social institutions, that's not to say that people must accept the status-quo, but more that they must understand the principles upon which our society operates.
The fourth area is personal. Education should be about helping individuals discover their talents, their purpose in life, their sensibilities, their interests and to enable them to live a life that's purposeful and fulfilling in its own right. In America just now, there's been a problem where kids have not been completing high-school- I hesitate to use the word drop-out as this implies they've failed the system where, in fact, it's often the other way round- kids are just disengaging. As soon as we treat education as an impersonal process... a mechanistic and data driven process... as soon as we lose sight of the fact that we're dealing with living, breathing human-beings then education ceases to be anything worthwhile.