Date: 2003-02-09 15:35:03
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While education per se may certainly be important our system of public education is also under attack.
Governments of all stripes and levels, federal, provincial and civic, pay glorious lip service to the principles of public education and then quietly reduce funding for it. Individual citizens rail at having to pay taxes for other peoples children's educations and then camp out all night in order to enroll their own children in private schools. We extol the virtues of the teaching professions and then demonize them when it's time to sit down at the negotiating table. We rant about the education system's *failure* to adequately prepare children for the job market and lobby to reduce programs aimed at preparing citizens to participate fully in a functional democracy. I could go on and on...
On our present course I don't see the public education system in Canada as we have come to know it surviving into the next century. So while education is important, I don't think we really know what it is anymore or why we do it. And if the point of including the concept of education in a discussion of foreign policy is that Canadian students ought to have a grounding in the history of Canadian foreign policy I agree but doubt very much that it'll ever happen. As a nation we've become convinced that education is a mere utility, a period of training for the labour and consumer markets and that almost anything else is "social engineering" by those damn teachers.