Two Imperatives in Education: change of culture v. transmission of the status quo
by Chris Ormell
By an ‘imperative’ in education I mean an overall thrust or direction someone is trying to impose upon the process. Should education’s main thrust today be to open the eyes of youngsters to what is wrong with society, in order to provoke them to new ideas, new perspectives, new goals, a new ‘culture’ in fact? Or should education be regarded first and foremost as the transmission of what is perennially right, and therefore throw its emphasis heavily behind maintaining the essence of the existing culture?
Both answers are often presented by their protagonists with the kind of heightened feeling and emphasis one would associate with a holy grail. People get very involved in educational goals – probably they link them directly to what they would like their own children to receive. They are apt to paint the remedy they support in glowing colours, while at the same time blackening the alternative answer in every possible way. One result of this tendency is that the educational debate, especially when re-enacted in the media, escalates from a drama into a crisis.