In countries with well-developed education systems, school systems tend to follow the government’s structure. In the United States and Canada, the federal system reflects the division of authority among the different levels of government. In contrast, Japan’s school system is decentralized and reflects local government’s goals. While school systems in these countries differ from those in the United States, all have the same basic characteristics. However, some differences do exist.
The educational system tends to reward the dominant culture. It rewards students who conform to its norms and values and groups them according to their ability. Tests and instruction are usually designed to cater to this dominant culture and leave others struggling to distinguish themselves. There are arguments for and against standardized tests, which some argue group students according to their natural or cultural ability. Regardless, if a system rewards a particular group, it is not promoting equality.
Modern mass education is also a form of social sorting. Through standardized curriculum, students of varying socioeconomic status are taught to adopt a common culture and knowledge base. In addition, students are taught to identify with the official priorities of society. They are then sorted according to their level of participation in institutions. This systematically reduces diversity. If we were to enact a truly universal education system, the educational system would be free for everyone.
As we have seen, education is the bridge between the haves and the have-nots. It has helped individual individuals and countries advance. But as time goes by, the education system is becoming a bit outdated. Founded in an age when industries needed workers with a fixed skill set, it is losing relevance to society’s ever-changing needs. If you’re wondering, “Why does the education system exist?”, keep ttactics reading!