The role of school

After analyzing a few works that approach this subject, we have reached the following conclusions:

  • Every educational institution is a part of society, which has certain expectations from it, established according to the institution’s functions and performance.
  • One of the fundamental tasks of these institutions is that of forming literate people. They don’t restrict their activity to teaching letters, but aim to form skilled readers and writers.
  • Nowadays, we can notice a high degree of dissatisfaction in the society. The latter puts pressure on school to take up functions that people consider it should fulfill. But the fulfillment or the failure to fulfill these functions depends on certain factors. Here are the most important of them:
  1. School shouldn’t follow a curriculum that makes significant differences between the knowledge that each group of the society receives, because that would cement the socio-cultural differences that already exist. This happens because:

– school focuses on teaching the higher social classes;

– uses a “parallel distribution system”; that is, its requirements and expectations from the students are proportional with their performance;

– because it molds a homogenous educational offer over a heterogeneous educational system (that operates at social, religious, economic level, etc.) For this reason, teaching is done in arbitrary and artificial situations taken out of context.

– or simply, because it focuses on unsatisfied basic necessities, which makes it shift its aim, giving more importance to the welfare or wellbeing function, which eventually leads to school failure.

  1. Absenteeism: In some cases, students skip classes due to the long distance between home and school, or the weather conditions of the area. This results in an interruption of the educational process, which can culminate in school dropout.
  2. Dropout and repetition: These are other factors that lead to educational failure. “When a child doesn’t manage to learn, school offers him a second chance: the opportunity to start all over again. Is this a solution? The failure experience will repeat itself in similar conditions, so is it necessary to ask the child to go through it again? How many times can a person make the same mistakes? Probably, as many times as possible, before finally aborting the whole process.”

These repeated school years make children abandon the system either temporarily or forever. But this situation often depends on more than the student’s own will – it is the school who abandons the “deserter”, because it doesn’t have any means to keep him.

Therefore, we should address the problem not as a consequence of individual people’s will, but as that of a selective educational system – a social selection machine.

  1. Identification with other persons: Many children try to take after the grown-ups. So, when the model they choose is an illiterate person, they want the same for themselves. This results in the children’s lack of interest for reading and writing, or at least for recognizing letters. An educational institution should act as a liaison between school and family, so that this can be prevented from happening.
  2. The lack of awareness and commitment: An illiterate person, who grows up in an environment and a home lacking written materials and resources, has to receive all the information and the knowledge from his family.
  3. The small number and poor distribution of rural schools: this makes it difficult for children to have access to basic education. This is closely connected to absenteeism, repeating school years and dropout (described in points 2 and 3).

These are only some of the causes that educational institutions should analyze in order to amend the situation.