Monthly Archives: August 2013

Education as a public good can be a dangerous notion

Continuing-EducationOne raison d’être for a government is the provision of public goods. Count here defense, infrastructure, healthcare, education, a legal framework etc.

But to conceive of education only as a public good, and nothing else, is a dangerous notion. Here’s just a few reasons why:

–       it implies that government alone is responsible for education

–       it amplifies education’s dark side, its potential use as means of mass control

–       it reinforces the notion that education has a distinct start and finish

What if we started thinking of education as private property instead? Could it be that, with a small change in mindset, we may:

–       claim ownership over a possession that cannot be taken away once earned

–       exercise control over a source of power that doesn’t require playing the zero-sum game

–       acknowledge education as something that requires investment to acquire and effort to maintain, treating it as an ongoing concern

The two notions are not mutually exclusive, and in the most common of cases, the first is needed before the second can exist. But stopping at the first notion, and making it the only way to look at things, would be such a waste.

PS. The image in this post invites you to go back to school. School not as brick and mortar. School as a state of mind – where education is something strictly personal, that belongs to you. So, what did you learn today?


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