By Sizwe – an UnCensored Reader
Sizwe argues that today’s education is not meant to produce products of mainly educational philosophies but a workforce which can maximise the profits of capitalists…
The subjection of basic, even more of tertiary education to private industry and business interests is a worldwide trend since the triumphal procession of neo-liberalism around the globe. Capitalists are interested in a workforce who are qualified in content, ways and modes so as to maximise their profits. Gone are the days when primary and secondary schools existed to give children and young people a good educational background or solid general education as well as the capability for critical thinking.
Specialisation came with tertiary education. Today the Humanities (social studies, languages, philosophy etc.) tend to be rated lower whereas subjects connected with business admin as well as IT and/or engineering etc. are rated higher.
Capital seeks to influence their prefered kind of employee much earlier, possibly already in the primary school phase. They are not interested in people with socially critical minds. The 19th century German liberal economist Friedrich List once wrote that raising or breeding pigs is seen as a productive economic activity whereas raising children is seen as economically un-productive. Indeed, in capitalism everything that cannot be marketed to maximise profit is seen as un-productive. There’s therefore a tendency that professions connected with the care for people and their surroundings, including for example, children, senior citizens, the physically and mentally challenged, and even cleaning and gardening, are seen as un-productive, hence jobs in these fields are very badly paid.
Despite the neo-liberal interventions in education systems however, critical thinking is produced just the same. Also due to good teachers and more and more learners coming from poor as well as conscious working class backgrounds.
Most importantly the contradictions in the education system itself, as a reflection of society’s contradictions, will in every generation produce critical and consequently rebellious learners and students.