Why do we have schools?

Although I agree that parents can play an important role in instilling moral principles in children, I believe that in a modern society, the school system must also share in that responsibility. I ask teachers, why do we have schools? In my own view, schools exist to shape young people into that image the society desires for its members.

I accept that competence in math and language are important aspects of the desired image, but I contend that our citizens must also be educated to display consideration for others, to exhibit a sense of national identity, and to reject violence. This was clearly stated as an objective of our education system (See Education Policy Paper, 2003, pp xvii to xviii). In my humble view schools have neglected the social skills, and although there are curricula in academic subjects, there is none for teaching people how to live peacefully in this society.

Furthermore, schools are formally assessed on the basis of examination performance in the academic subjects without any concern for the values, dispositions and attitudes of their graduates. This, in my view masks the poor performance of many schools, and is a major hindrance to school development.

My advice to those in control of education is to bring together local experts in education, curriculum development, and educational research, who can be found in the Schools of Education and the various education discussion groups. These nationals can forge a new direction for education in this country that can extricate us from this scourge of violence that we now endure. Historically, we have entrusted curriculum development to foreigners, and we are now experiencing the identical symptoms that beset those provider nations.

I am certain that we have the expertise locally to transform education for a more peaceful society, but we must wait to see whether Government has the will to do so.




"Why do we have schools?"

More in this section