The role of schools

If there is any institution needed by modern societies to guarantee its future, it is education.

It is often convenient to ignore the importance of schools in the development of humans and society as we argue over the nature of the curriculum.

Since their inception, schools have transmitted society’s values and culture, been repositories of shared wisdom and knowledge and powerful agents of change.  

At times individuals, organisations and governments have sought to use schools to further their own particular agendas and purposes and at others, allowed schools to carry on the work they do – free and unfetted from external influences and pressures.  Regardless of the approach, schools have still maintained their centrality of being an important part of the development of society and the common good.

If schools are to serve their communities and the wider society, they must be relevant to today’s learner.  This is a very different view from past generations.

Schools exist to contextualise the nature of the world in which young people live.

Certainly, it requires an understanding of the past and the forces that have shaped the world. The platform on which we base our curriculum for today’s schools should challenge and open the mind rather than constrain knowledge into discreet subject boxes.

I believe this is why we struggle to find an appropriate curriculum.  It requires a philosophical discussion on the purpose and nature of schooling before we can move towards a national curriculum.


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