Monday, 15 July 2013
A few thoughts on education.
Been thinking about the way of modern education in the light of my recent commencement and why the hell it has been so much of a great failure.
Consider an apprenticeship. In the past, an apprentice left the home of his parents and went to live with his master in what was usually a one-to-one relationship, if not a one-to-a-handful relationship. In any case, the point was that numbers were small enough for master and apprentice to have a personal relationship. The apprentice would serve his master, make his way up in his master's esteem and be trusted with greater and greater tasks as his learning progressed. They would eat together, sleep together, work together. If the trade was one with high capital costs, the only way the apprentice might ever become a master in his own right would be to marry his master's daughter and inherit the proverbial forge. The master did not merely impart skills to his apprentice, but an entire way of thinking and life, but also the culture of a trade. How a tanner was supposed to behave, how a clothier was expected to treat customers, what the standing of a smith was in society.
An apprentice did not merely gain training in the trade he was being groomed for, but also a way of life. In the same way, schools for young ladies, such as finishing schools, taught them more than just how to sew doilies and be oh-so-horribly-oppressed - they were taught codes of behaviour, manners, what would be expected of them as grown women and how to conduct themselves about men -
- Compare all these with the nonsense we have today, a bunch of women with the objectively lowest-qualified major (education) following a curriculum specifically designed to churn out idiots and cogs.
As I mentioned in a previous reply to one of Aurini's comments, education used to be so much more than the 3Rs, so personally involved in the master-disciple bond. When I was matriculated into university, I was assigned a "mentor" which I never saw in person for the whole of the five years I was there and only exchanged a few emails with. At least my primary school teacher stayed with me for a year at a time and my junior college teachers for two years, but most of the professors teaching courses were gone within six weeks, and I had the impression a number of them just wanted to be rid of us so they could go back to the lab.
I don't blame them.
North-East Asians have a reverence for education. The problem is that the Prussian model is antithetical to the original Disciple-Master form of education in the period during which this reverence was formed. Neither China, Japan nor Korea seem to have realised that, alas. But such is the failure of modern education - or perhaps it's not failure, but exactly what it was intended to do.