Monday, February 24, 2014

Marx and Education

In his "Critique of the Gotha Programme," section IV part B, in response to the wording: "The German Workers' party demand as the intellectual and ethical basis of the state: 1. Universal and equal elementary education by the state. Universal compulsory school attendance. Free instruction."

Marx challenges the notion that education can be equal for all classes.  In addition, he asserts that free theoretical and practical technical schools ought to be included along with elementary schools.

Marx points out that compulsory elementary education already existed in Germany, Switzerland and the United States. He then makes the statement: "if in some states of the latter country (U.S.) higher education institutions are also "free," that only means in fact defraying the cost of education of the upper classes from the general text receipts."  In other words, free higher education benefits the upper classes by having that education paid for with public money. He also points out that there's a difference between government expenditures on schools and government as educator, asserting that both religious and government institutions be "equally excluded from any influence on the school," saying that the government needed "a very stern education from the people."

In The Communist Manifesto, we are offered a general statement on education. Marx writes:

And your education! Is not that also social, and determined by the social conditions under which you educate, by the intervention direct or indirect, of society, by means of schools, &c.? The Communists have not invented the intervention of society in education; they do but seek to alter the character of that intervention, and to rescue education from the influence of the ruling class (Chapter II. Proletarians and Communists).


His statement in the Manifesto certainly rings true to our current educational system in a number of ways when considering core curriculum and public schools as well as access to higher education. I'd be interested in a discussion exploring this subject, connecting it perhaps with Marx's ideas about the education and role of the intelligentsia in a communist society.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.