New Philosopher #12: Education



New Philosopher is an independent quarterly magazine devoted to exploring philosophical ideas from past and present thinkers on ways to live a more fulfilling life. Commentary on New Philosopher aims to guide readers into living a happier and freer mode of existence.

In this issue: Nobody escapes the education machine, an apparatus with the ambitious aim of taking unpolished individuals and shaping them in the mould of ‘upstanding citizen’. With children spending but a portion of the day under the influence of educational institutions, the results are, thankfully, far from homogenous – the multifarious moulds supply a healthy range of citizens with differing ideals and morals, competing creeds and philosophies.

Yet there still lurks a danger. There’s still a chance that education could, as Napoleon Bonaparte once hoped, “cast a whole generation in one mould”. This threat comes not from our schools, but from another, more powerful, influencer of minds and mores across the globe: the media.

Each day, children from Iceland to Japan learn the formal and informal rules of the society into which they are born. But when it comes to teaching them how to live and who to be, schools are subordinate to screens: each year 900 hours are spent at school, while 2,500 hours are devoted to the ‘media curriculum’. There are growing concerns about this unprecedented influence on children’s minds, not least of which is: What kind of citizen is the media teaching our children to be?

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