Although, as Dorothy Parker once said, “you cannot teach an old dogma new tricks”, we choose to believe that it is still possible. After all, to quote Nathaniel Hawthorne, “It is a good lesson – though it may often be a hard one – for a man (…) to step aside out of the narrow circle in which his claims are recognized”.
Egalitarian politicians tend to lower standards in order to make degrees available for everyone — thereby decreasing the value of those degrees. Governments might have different ideas about what education should achieve than parents.
One of the crucial problems in Slovakia – and elsewhere – is an educational system failing to adapt to the challenges of modern society. There is one ultimate reason behind it: the prevailing central planning approach has resulted in rigidity, bureaucracy, and purely formalistic requirements disconnected from the real world.
Even though there is no coordinating center and no “minister for IT,” the industry runs like clockwork. There are ever newer and better-quality products and efficiency puts downward pressure on prices. The same is true with food, cars, clothing, housing, and so on.
The current government does not care about quality of teaching or the competitiveness of Polish graduates on the European and global job markets. It wants to influence young people’s worldview and shape the party’s future electorate from the early stages of education. This dramatically illiberal agenda must be stopped and reversed.
According to the adherents of conflict theory, schools reproduce the social order and transmit the ideology of the dominant group. The education system is susceptible to political changes. Every government has its own vision of political history that gets promoted through the school system.
At the end of the 1980s, the countries which freed themselves from Soviet authority faced the challenge of reforming educational policy that had until then rested on communist principles. Now, they had to develop a society open to democracy and capable of establishing and maintaining it. The expected breakthrough, however, has not happened.
Four main challenges still lay ahead of the Bulgarian education system: 1) autonomy; 2) flexibility and choice; 3) involvement; and 4) practical skills. One way to look at these issues is to investigate the income distribution in the country.
The Estonian education system maintained its peculiarity during the Soviet occupation – teaching was in Estonian, the atmosphere in schools derived from progressive ideas and democracy, textbooks were by Estonian authors, and teaching arts, music, and foreign languages were given a great emphasis.