Douwe Osinga's Blog: We don't need no education

Tuesday, July 8, 2003

We don't need no education

Pink Floyd sang it so many years ago. Secundary education, do we need it? If you ask around, you notice nobody remembers a thing what they were taught back then. Some English maybe, but it could be I learned that from movies and listening to Bruce Springsteen anyway. Chemistry? Forget it, people talk about 'natural ingredients' as if Friedrich W? never lived. Mathematics? People have nightmares about it, that's all.

The sad fact is, you can't really teach people something they don't want to learn and at the age people are when they suffer secundary education, they're usually not very interested in learning. Furthermore, the stuff on offer is not very intereseting nor is it very useful. General knowledge is all very well, but it is not useful, outside the realm of trying to impress other bloggers (although they would assume I got the Fredrich W? thing from Google). In reality high school doesn't really prepare you for anything. It keeps you busy (and not even that in some cases) until you're old enough for university.

Secundary education is a faulty solution to a problem we can't solve. You have this four to six year period in which you have to do something with the kids and you really want to prepare them for the future by teaching them all kinds of things. It sounds all very much all right and so we ignore the fact that most of the time (teachers & pupils) is just wasted. The studied materials are forgotten and mostly irrelavant anyway.

So what can we do? Learning languages is something that might be useful. In all honesty, I did learn English and German on highschool and am reasonably fluent in either (also learned French though). If we would sent all kids two times for half a year to a foreign language country, that would help. Also, I would have liked to learn the stuff that took me ages, like how to sell stuff (yourself for example), talk to girls and other social skills. That is something a 16 year old can use straightaway.