A basic theory of an open market is that the better the quality of a product is, the more it will be in demand. The school education system is a reflection of the same capitalist theory.
Capitalism’s standard definition is – an economic and political system in which a country’s trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state. However, the contemporary idea includes the privatisation of public services like health and education.
Where education and schooling are privately owned institutions, it can reasonably be inferred that the objective is often about punitive profits rather than actual skill nourishment. The cost of the elite schools substantiates the fact that education in huge buildings is not for all. It is for those who can turn the place into a gold mine.
Another aspect is its objective. Why we go to schools? Is it to educate ourselves or to work to get a good job? Or is there a larger implication behind it? What I comprehend is that the whole concept of schooling system lies upon one fundamental principle – Mass Production. In which, the motive of education is to ensure skilled labour catering to the needs of production. Hence, the very idea of today’s schooling system is factory-based, producing uniform minds and ensuring that all the standards are met.
It is a paradox, on the one hand, capitalism claims to promote individualism through laissez-faire, but on the other hand, I find that it requires everything to be standardised and graded, be it processed meat or your exam answers.
It is quite similar to a factory production unit; the students like products have various stops on the assembly line that add all of the elements making the final product before they are sent for consumption. These stops include Kindergarten, classes 1 to 12 and then colleges.
The supervisors of our factory school also have targets- The syllabus. ‘All products must reach to chapter 6 by the 7th week of this session.’
Sent from one assembly line to another, the students are graded after each process. The ‘batch’ of around 400 students, each with a different perspective and pace of learning, is expected to reach the target at the same time. What if someone is not able to do so? Defaulters, defective and useless are the titles used. The quality of the product determines the next assembly line. The final finished students are all uniform, fit for usage and divided based on their quality, i.e. their grades.
The schooling system exhibits a fantastic example of the same unfortunate definition of success. The higher grades, the right marks, the top ranks and the six-figure packages are all socio-economic hallucinations created by the capitalist in big uniform and intimidating buildings symbolising factories, otherwise known as excellent schools.
These are regarded as the ultimate parameters of success, but there is a painful loss in the whole system of modern school academia. Children are conditioned and socialised in such a linear way that unidirectional thinking becomes inevitable.
Multi-definition of anything makes it incomplete and non-recognisable. What is required of the student to get good grades is the same mugged-up answer copied from the textbook. For example, if you ask what you mean by sports to a regular class, the academic-oriented, the sport-lovers and the all-rounder, they will all give you different versions unique to their persona and thinking. However, as soon as you study the academic definition of sports, to fetch marks you will end up writing the same standard answer for the very same question.
In this whole deliberate equation formulated by the capitalist the space of creativity, alternate thinking and ideas are now replaced by hard work, and by hard work, we mean real mechanical work with very less academic success. Instead of core thinking and brainstorming, the students are required to transform their brain into automated storage storing the dictated syllabus.