Saturday, May 17, 2014
Swindon Think Slam - 3rd Round - Why education must preserve igonrance
In 1743 the MP Soames Jenyns said of education, "For those born to poverty and the drudgeries of life ignorance is an opiate capable of infusing insensibility. They should never be deprived of this by an ill-judged and improper education. Ignorance is the basis of all subordination, the support of society and by which means the labourers are fitted for their respective situations."
When I read this, I was teaching a young lady from the villages of Robert Mugabie's Zimbabwe.
She explained how their education system worked. The elders taught the youngsters everything they needed to know to survive, what plants to eat, which ones to avoid, which animals to hunt and how to raise livestock. Rich knowledge was passed on without OFSTED and without government set curriculums.
For her, ignorance was not an option; so on this measure is the Zimbabwian education system better than ours?
Their system must equip young people to survive in the natural world and to sustain it indefinitely. Ours must equip young people to compete in the artificial and temporary world of an industrialised society.
But our future will be dominated by climate change and ecological collapse. When today's cohort of primary school children graduate from university, atmospheric CO2 will be so high the worst nightmares of climate change will be impossible to stop. As their industrial society collapses, the education system will push all the students in its care to breaking point so that the best possible candidates can get the last remaining jobs.
Thus, preparation for an industrialised society must remain the primary objective of the education system and it must normalise a high carbon life style, despite the science on climate change. So the education system will send students on high carbon educational trips abroad, set up relationships with high carbon industries and give careers advice to encourage students to get jobs in these areas. The Aldermaston Atomic Weapons Establishment even organises “chain reaction” competitions for primary school children to help.
So should a responsible teacher step beyond the realm of political correctness and explain to their students this is wrong and the CO2 emissions from the society their education system is preparing them for means they will be fried, roasted, boiled and baked?
To subject impressionable young people to such conflicting messages is child abuse and a serious collective attempt to educate the young on climate change would undermine the competitive advantage this country will need as things go bad. So we don’t do it and we return to the wisdoms of Soames Jenyns; our education system must preserve ignorance. Without this, society will collapse. 150 years of free education has changed nothing and the Zimbabwean education system beats ours.