Friday, March 23, 2012

Criticisms, Conformity and the Real World

Home education families and advocates are often criticized for isolating children and sheltering them from the 'real world'. Rare examples of children who have difficulty acclimating to a school environment after having formerly been home educated are used as fodder by critics in an attempt to prove that home education is faulty. Two main points are always raised, that the children are not given exposure to the 'real world' and that they are not properly socialized. I'd like to address these misunderstandings.

It is important that we first understand that the purpose of the modern government school system is indoctrination. This indoctrination process is performed using three main principles: Conformity, Training and Socialization. Once we understand this, we can begin to understand the weakness in the most popular Home Education criticisms.


Indeed there are some isolated cases where a formerly home educated kid is plunked into a government school setting and struggles to conform. Immediately we see this as "failure" because we are now holding the child to that public school standard. Let us step outside the thinking box for a moment though, where we can view the forest from outside the tree line and realize that this is not a failure to "perform" it is actually a failure to "conform". The child is not conforming to a very specific and narrow pre-selected and predetermined set of criteria, chosen by those elusive bureaucrats that run that government system. These bureaucrats are at the mercy of the corporate sponsors who provide financial support. So in essence it is the corporate giants that get to dictate what the average child should "learn" (and I use the word loosely here). When child does not smoothly fall into place with that agenda we call it "failure".

As exemplified in popular home education criticisms, the mainstream seems to be caught in this mentality of blindly trusting that the government school system is the high king of learning. We hold children to those standards and very rarely consider who or what industry developed those standards. We don't ponder what they are based on or for what purpose they were developed. We as a society fail to ask ourselves these questions and so we go on thinking that if a child does not fit into that very particular mold then he/she is a failure.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Education in Third World

With the daily challenges posed by economic difficulty and other threats, governments in developing countries are working very hard to ensure that their educational institutions continue to provide a standard of education that can make its citizens at part with the educated people in more economically sound countries. To a certain extent, these Third World countries have succeeded in their crusade for quality education. The problem is that a good education comes with a price and it is often a price that many people in Third World countries are not able to pay. So, although quality education is available, it is still unreachable for a large segment of a developing country's population.

Certainly, it is impressive to see that developing countries have educational institutions that are world-class and which offer education that can rival that provided by wealthier nations around the world. There is a clear recognition of the role that education plays in overcoming hardship and poverty. However elusive it may be, a good education is still viewed as the best way to a better life.

Among the developing countries that have superb educational systems are such "emerging markets" as Mexico, India, Brazil, Turkey, the Philippines, Egypt, South Africa, Malaysia, Thailand, much of South America and several of the Persian Gulf Arab States.

Obviously, the poorest of the poor in these countries will have a hard time getting into the best schools in their vicinity. Of course, there are always scholarship programs available but these are few. Besides, people at the lowest spectrum of the economic scale are more concerned with more pressing issues related to their mere survival such as where to find food and money for clothing and shelter. After these basic needs are met, that is the only time that parents can really focus on their children's schooling. In fact, studies indicate that once their basic economic needs are met, the first priority of most poor families is how to send their children to a good school.