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Education Does Not Breed Conformity

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 0 0

Education does not breed conformity, it does quite the opposite. Education is the act or process of imparting or acquiring knowledge, of any form, and developing the powers of reasoning and judgement, preparing oneself or others for an intellectually mature life. This education may be in any form you choose, from the science of film-making to the psychology of 15th centaury dogs, but an intellectually mature life does not universally involve learning how to conform, unless conformity is what you choose to study. Education takes place in every sphere of life, from sport to theatre, and what you choose to educate yourself in is up to you. Education continues during the holidays, and after you have left school, it is the accumulation of wisdom, and that is far from conformity. In fact, there is enormous power in education to remove or morph conformity within society, and in challenging the previously accepted ideas of our ancestors; the very people who have shaped our society by going against conformity are also those who were most educated.

First of all there is a big difference between having high standards (for example in school uniform and school rules) and breeding conformity. There is a distinct difference between the de-individualisation of conformity (brought about in Nazi Germany, for example) and standards necessary to prevent distractions from your education, such as deciding which shoes to wear on a day-to-day basis because you are so engulfed with concern about the far reaching, fashion-related assumptions that your peers will draw from this.

I come back to the example of education breeding conformity in Nazi Germany. Education at school was shaped to breed conformity, with one examination board and one syllabus and one purpose, the creation of a conforming citizen. Physical education for 6 hours a week was compulsory for all under 18s, and the science of racial in-equality was compulsory.

Now, perhaps you say that, up to the age of 16, education is compulsory, and we are forced to conform, by law, to government regulations on education. My response is twofold. Primarily, we do have choice in the subjects we choose to study for GCSE; there are over 35 subjects available. This is not conformity, it is choice in what you want to do, and permits you to elect the path you want. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, it is essential you understand the difference between conformity, and not preventing opportunity. If education was not compulsory, parents could choose to use their children as tools for their own profit, thus preventing that child’s potential for prosperity, by removing opportunity. To this end, compulsory education is Not conformity, it is opportunity.

Furthermore, within the 'education system' there are different kinds of schools: fee paying, grammar, comprehensive; you can do IGCSEs or GCSEs, there are different boards/ syllabuses, schools specialise in different areas, such as specialist music academies. Compare this with Nazi Germany. On a wider scale, you can educate yourself in popular music, or classical music or virtually any type of music; now compare this with one radio station, controlled by the Nazi government’s propaganda ministry... That is conformity!

You have a freedom of Religion, a freedom of what subjects you do for GCSE or A level, and for that matter which school you go to, whether you do A level or IB, aiming to go to university or wanting to go straight to work at 16... And ultimately you can still decide whether to do X or Y... Education cannot remove individuality, and nor should it try to.

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