1 February 2010
Extract from 'Imprisoned in the Global Classroom', Ivan Illich & Etienne Verne, 1976
'...Once the graduates of teachers' colleges were given a public monopoly to decide what constitutes good education, they had to use it to disqualify learning which happened outside their control. Schools became the only legitimate recipients for public funds destined for education. Inevitably learning was translated into 'education', and this in turn became a commodity which could be obtained only from accredited schools. The guarantee of a minimum education was translated into obligation to attend a minimum number of years. Soon dropouts, forced into the nether world destined for the so-called a-social, would be denied jobs. But the guarantee does not only work against him who does not use it. The monopoly of schools over education made education into an intangible commodity. It turned the result of learning into an invisible software, which is guaranteed by the code number on the certificate. Those pupils who obtain only the legal minimum find out that they wasted their time in school: what they acquired is devalued on the market because others have more or a newer program'.
'Schools were not originally created with the intent of creating an industrial complex for the production of knowledge; they were meant to give everybody a chance to learn. But they became a form of compulsory insurance of every child's future productivity. The governments of the world all established the monopoly of a profession, giving them the right to decide how much of their expert treatment each citizen should get...'