Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Why Vocational Education Is Harmful To The Man

Children staying on at school for longer I applaud. But the discussions today about the wondrousness of the new vocational courses they will be able to opt into, I condemn (like a lone, small dog barking in the wind five miles from a busy street). The Director of Schools (I think that's his title) says children will have to have reached a certain level of literacy and numeracy before they can opt out of traditional subjects and into vocational ones. But you can bet the bar won't be set very high for that. And a human being is about more than the job he does. He is going to face more in life than he can deal with only having learned how to work in a particular area of trade or business. His spirit will yearn for things he can't even put a name to. And the disjunct between what he needs on a spiritual and existential level, and what he has been given the emotional and intellectual vocabulary to identify and tackle, will likely leave him a dissatisfied, depressed or even an angry man. I'm sure this is where a lot of the social problems we have in the world come from already. How much worse is it going to be if the impoverishment of education and learning is allowed to continue?
I say put children to the study of world literature, languages, philosophy, history, religion. Make a man, an informed and rounded man, then send him out into the world and let him learn whatever else he needs to know when he gets there. Because a man with a proper--and by that I mean classical--education is a man who will be ready for anything. He may even be the man to figure out whether the things he's encountering in the world are fitting for a species capable of crossing universes with a single thought, and if not, identify a new direction for us. But that may be, unconsciously, one of the reasons why the people turning the wheels of the current System don't want him.

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