Thursday, 19 February 2009

Protests and Factory Schools

At Fairfield College in Hamilton this morning, a student protest against the school's leadership made big news across the country. Concerned about the lack of any real power of decision making in the school, the students staged a protest at the school as 16 protesters swelled to 200.

It is not a surprise in the current educational environment. Over the last fifty years, every aspect of life, rather than the traditional straitjacket model, has become personalised to certain degrees. Schooling, however, sticks stubbornly to the one-size-fits all model.

Every day, thousands of students flood into the countries colleges and high schools, and go through much the same routine. Teachers have to juggle hundreds of students in a day, and class sizes are much larger in New Zealand than other countries, leaving little time to catering to student's needs. Indeed, teachers and students alike are, in their particular contexts, little more than the workers and products of factories, respectively.

The special link between student and educator which has been the heart of education for so much of human history has been replaced by economies of scale, in the interests of "universal education", ultimately serving the interests of bureaucracy.

Perhaps the students at Fairfield High should ponder that -is modern education truly about education, or political goals?

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