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?
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!