EDUCATING FOR PROFIT, EDUCATING FOR FREEDOM
We are in the midst of a crisis of massive proportions and grave global significance. I do not mean the global economic crisis that began in 2008. At least everyone knows that that crisis is at hand, and many world leaders worked quickly and desperately to find solutions.
I mean a crisis that goes largely unnoticed, a crisis that is likely to be, in the long run, far more damaging to the future of democratic self-government: a worldwide crisis in education.
Radical changes are occurring in what democratic societies teach the young, and these changes have not been well thought through. Eager for national profit, nations, and their systems of education, are heedlessly discarding skills that are needed to keep democracies alive.
If this trend continues, nations all over the world will soon be fulfilling Rabindranath Tagore’s dire prediction, producing generations of useful machines, rather than complete citizens who can think for themselves, criticize tradition and understand the significance of another person’s sufferings and achievements.