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The Free Socialist Manifesto - The Power of Education and its Shortcomings

by LeutnantSchweinehund


PART TWO

The Power of Education and its Shortcomings

Who are we?

What an odd question, you may think to yourself. Why, would it not be more appropriate to ask; who are you?

In a world, specifically the world we created together, the individuality of each living person seems now more significant than the concept of community and a solidified whole. I would, however, compare the curse of overly-emphasized individuality to the tragedy of a lonesome ant.

This ant, the one I gazed upon as a young boy as it walked upon the edge of my bed, had gotten separated from its group. The mind of an ant is, of course, primitive on any given level, from any point of view – especially ours. Nonetheless, its story touches me now, all those years later. The ant wandered aimlessly for a good while, and I can only imagine the terror of separation it must have known in that moment. What became of it, I do not know. As a child with little regard for such small creatures, I did not care for its fate. It was, however, a near-certainty that whatever its fate may have been, it was not beneficial to its survival, or the survival of its colony.

I compare the poor nature of sole individuality to the fate of a lost ant for one simple reason – we thrive together. Just as a colony of primitive ants in the earth seem minuscule from our point of view, so does our colony of mankind seem primitive from the vastness of space. What can one individual human accomplish in this world? About as much as an ant in its colony, I daresay.

One must ask, then, why praise individuality? There is no doubt that each human is unique, and yet, does it truly matter? Who are you if not a part of your community? What meaning do you then possess, and for whom, and for what? We believe firmly that the concept of individuality, while valid and crucial for our civilization's survival, has become overpraised, while the values of community measure only decline. Let us strive for a future of great cooperation not only between nations, but between individuals, for so we may accomplish more, working as individuals, however together.

Who are you? Is it not more appropriate to ask; who are we?

The answer to this question varies. It is not an easy concept to tackle by any means, and the problem of community begins as early as the first days of our formal education. In fact, it is that first day among a new community of fellow humans that slams shut a gate between entire future groups! Children born to wealth enjoy the pleasures of private educations, while others are left to the state, and others still receive no education at all. What world do we live in that we must split apart children for the deeds of their elders?

I ask you, an individual, why must wealth burden the minds of children as well as their authority? Should a child not explore the vast world of variety between his kin, form bonds with those both rich and poor alike? We are effectively blocking one group from the other, creating a divide which carries over far into adulthood, and it is in this time of early human life that we must weed out this divide, for there is no other time more appropriate.

The bourgeoisie mustn't be separated! We are common flesh, we city-folk, let us fight for an ideal world together!

My story was not special by any means, nor has this truth changed in past years. I attended a state school, from which I departed after my first year. I arrived in a new town, though close to my birthplace still, and I knew no one. We remained there for the next five years of my life, and I would confidently say that those were some of the worst years my life had to offer. In the way of friends, I saw little success, and in the way of a formal education, I felt myself slipping. Perhaps some of us, those who attended state-funded schools, envied the children from next door who had the privilege of increased freedom during class hours in their private establishments, and yet we were hardened by the experience.

Upon my arrival to what most Americans would refer to as 'middle school,' my life had taken many an unexpected turn. Friends had become a certain reality and grades were not something I felt had concerned me in any particular way. With a spirited heart, great ambition and even greater hopes for the future, I bloomed for four whole years, surprising not only others, but even myself with my perceived 'ingenuity,' which I would soon discover to be absolutely and utterly false.

And now, at this point in my life, I realized the greatest shortcoming of the education system of my country – overemphasis of general studies, and a sore lack of specialists in the field. At this point, the question of individuality became clear to me as I turned from an individual to a part of one greater whole.

I chose engineering. In all honesty, had I studied, had I worked hard at more pleasing results, I would very likely have become a student of a prestigious gymnasium in Prague. Unfortunately, or perhaps on the contrary, as I later found, I was instead forced to apply for a lower-class field – mechanical engineering. Begrudgingly, I applied, and I succeeded. However, mere days after my success, it became clear to me that an engineer should accomplish far more for his community than, say, an aspiring modern artist (modern art is a topic later discussed in the manifesto). This should not, however, call into question an artist's influence on culture and national pride, rather I would point out that with their overabundance, their chances of accomplishing significant results are rather slim. And with there being a noticeable lack of engineers, it is my belief that an engineer is, at the present time, more crucial for the state than an artist.

Proposed solutions and lessons learned from my personal experience, and from a careful analysis of my state's educational struggle?

  • Private education does not benefit the state, nor the student. - Private education not only separates, it often impairs a student's ability to be content with potentially unpleasant future conditions. State education prepares a student for the honest, oft difficult life of today's bourgeoisie.
  • Over-emphasis of the arts and purely intellectual fields brings harm to the state. - It is natural for human beings to seek out easy (not necessarily simple, however) professions which bring great capital in return. However, supporting students in such endeavors creates little more than a mass of unemployed bourgeoisie without properly trained expertise.
  • Too many gymnasiums, too few specialized schools for younger students. - At as early as fourteen years of age, a student is required to choose his field of study for the next four years. Unfortunately, most are encouraged to delay this choice by means of choosing traditionally accepted gymnasiums – in my words, schools without focus – which continue to produce unskilled bourgeoisie who have no field of expertise. Tied to the problem of over-emphasis on arts and intellectual fields.
  • A deficit in funding for specialized schools. - Industrial high schools require funding for machinery in order to teach required skills to their students, the future of skilled and practically-inclined bourgeoisie. This condition, while met in some more prestigious technical lyceums, is rarely met outside the capital.

While these bullet points are primarily focused on my country of birth, I believe they apply in their entirety to the whole of the First World. We will discuss possible solutions for these four issues in the chapter titled Problems and Solutions.

In conclusion, we firmly believe, me and my esteemed colleagues, that the educational systems of today focus disproportionaly on purely intellectual fields with little application in science or industry, both of which are, as we earlier discussed, among the most important pillars of a successful state!

We do not propose the complete abolishment of intellectual and artistic fields – on the contrary, we encourage them for societal and cultural growth, both of which lead to national pride, which works towards ensuring a tightly-knit, powerful community. We propose only that the focus be evenly spread, lest we fall behind in industry compared to our potential competitors.

Power to the traditional city-folk, may they thrive in education!


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Thu Mar 29, 2018 12:07 am
EditorAndPerks wrote a review...



Hi! I wanted to say a few things about this work.

I think a reviewer on the first chapter of this recommended to include personal experiences and thoughts, which I myself enjoy. You did a good job of this, by bringing in the idea of the ant all alone. That gives a stronger image to your readers, and I appreciate that, even if I come from a country far away from socialist ideas. I'm able to at least picture the situation you you speak of extensively.

Continuing on, I like the format of this, with the clean cut bold statements to guide the reader into different things to think about. The bullet points especially remind me of a textbook, which I suppose is what you're kind of shooting for, with such academic rhetoric, or at least a philosophical piece, especially since it's titled "Manifesto."

The lines of

The bourgeoisie mustn't be separated! We are common flesh, we city-folk, let us fight for an ideal world together!
and
Power to the traditional city-folk, may they thrive in education!
are a little perplexing to me. Is "bourgeoisie" meant to represent the lower and middle class? If so, wouldn't both so-called "country-folk" and "city-folk" be one in the same? If there aren't many actual rural areas in your country, then I guess that's a fine way of looking at people, but in the US, for example, there are poor people both in and out of cities, across the nation. I just feel like that line might not be as representing of all people possible in an area.

Your second, more personal excerpt, also confuses me a little. How was your "ingenuity" proven to be false? If you claim that you didn't really care about your grades and were then forced to go a lower-grade field I don't see how that showed how awful the school system is. I'm afraid that I don't see your point there.

Finally, I'd like to touch on the line of
However, mere days after my success, it became clear to me that an engineer should accomplish far more for his community than, say, an aspiring modern artist (modern art is a topic later discussed in the manifesto).
That's a pretty loaded statement, and I'd like evidence about that in this chapter, not later in the novel. The reasoning behind that is I think you could repel potential readers from just being offended by that idea, if they themselves believe that artists can contribute to their community as well. I say change your wording or give evidence before just saying "that will be discussed later." I hope that makes sense.

Overall, this is pretty impressive to use such strictly academic language, and you obviously put some time into this. I'd like to see a little more evidence and insight in later sections.

kille






Aaa, thank you very much! I was afraid it would remain without review for ages!

Bourgeoisie might have been slightly misused, right that. It's true that I am focusing mostly on city-folk, especially the middle class, because I myself am from a large city in my country. In fact, I come from its capital. Perhaps it wouldn't be a bad idea to include more rural areas as well. I'll see about that.

Don't know where I was going with my false ingenuity. I think I was trying to show that the school system was encouraging me and my mates into joining a purely intellectual field, and I saw through the facade and joined a practical field instead. But it was very underdeveloped, I agree.

And I definitely agree on the point of insufficient evidence for the matter of art vs. engineering. I'll add that in, because as it stands, it's only going to be misunderstood. The point was that there are too many artists, and too few engineers. Both have value, but one is more needed than the other at the moment. Will edit that in!

Thank you very kindly for the review! I'm glad to be hitting at least the general feeling a manifesto should have.





I am looking forward to the next chapter! Happy that this review gave you something to think about! Until next time.



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Wed Mar 28, 2018 11:11 pm
Kanome wrote a review...



Hello, LeutnantSchweinehund. I am here to provide you a review. Let’s get started, shall we?

I. AGREE OR DISAGREE?
Okay, I read over your article twice so I can have a better understanding of the argument. It has to the conclusion that I both agree and disagree with your argument. Simply because you have stated:

While these bullet points are primarily focused on my country of birth, I believe they apply in their entirety to the whole of the First World.


This is not simply the case for all countries. Yes I do believe that there issues that need to be addressed surrounding the modern education system, but at the same time, you can’t just simply assume that all countries have the same issues as your country.

- Private education does not benefit the state, nor the student.
When it comes to private education, I do admit, when it comes to private schooling, I do believe that SOME of the private school’s don’t focus on the students’ education but rather on the their status. But, as for some other private schools, they do benefit on the child’s wellbeing, getting the best education there is so they can have a bright future.

Other than that issue alone, I can’t simply agree or disagree with the others since I have never come across the issues yet, but maybe in due time I will do my research.

II. OVERALL
Overall, your argument does bring out good points about the education system, and they need to be addressed. Whether if I agree or disagree with your claims, it won’t matter. This is based on your opinion alone. And since these claims are based on the location you live at, I cannot simply tell you that this is right or this is wrong.
Keep up the great work. I do wonder what the next article will be about. Keep writing and enjoy the rest of your day.

- Kanome

This review courtesy of
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Many thanks!

That might very well be correct. I'll add that it applies to many European states instead, because, as you say, I'm not actually sure how poorly supplied the US is with engineers and skilled professions. I only know that most of Europe seems to be facing this issue. So I'll definitely fix that.

Anyway, thanks again! I appreciate the input, and hey, even opinions are very much appreciated. After all, I'm trying to reach out to people who may even disagree with me initially, so if there's any opinion you feel matters, I'll be very happy to hear it.




The universe will reward you for taking risks on its behalf.
— Shakti Gawain