Idea: Preview

Relevance:     Universal
Education and citizenship; Education Reform; Completion versus performance; Schooling is child-labor

Section 1.
In order to preserve the stability of our society and to ensure its further advancement, we find that it is necessary to provide a certain minimum level of education to all of our society’s members, both citizens and non-citizens. Furthermore, the completion of such education should be one of the necessary requirements for a citizen to attain voting powers, so that we do not have uninformed citizens making decisions about vital matters that affect us all. This education should be provided through a public education system of various schools for young children and adolescents, which should be funded by taxes levied fairly across the whole society and not be subject to discrepancies based on local and private funding.

Section 2.
The public education system should cater for the diverse needs and talents of learners. Its primary function must be to develop students’ capacity to think, discover and ‘problem-solve’. There should be a variety of schools, with different specialties, at each level. Opportunities must be provided for students to engage in activities related to their individual interests. Early childhood education programs should promote hands-on learning, as well as emotional intelligence and social skills because these contribute to the development of healthy, well-balanced adults who can make useful contributions to society.

Section 3.
The completion of mandatory education by students should not be judged by the students’ performance in classes and on tests but by their exposure to the material. First, we must acknowledge that requiring people to become educated is ethically problematic in itself because it is done by coercion. Second, the student’s performance in classes and on tests is not only a function of a student’s merit as a learner but also a function of the education system’s ability to properly engage the student. Thus, while the measurement of a student’s performance through grading and other evaluation can be a valuable feedback mechanism for the student, it should not be the determinant of a student’s completion of mandatory education. Instead, the completion of a student’s education should be measured by which courses the student has attended in a curriculum. The student should use their own judgement to determine when they want to advance to a higher level course or whether to retake a course. Ultimately, the student’s performance will also be judged by others in society at large, as employers and institutions of higher education may be interested in a student’s performance in mandatory education and request for their grades.

Section 4.
We must recognize that mandatory schooling for children is essentially a form of child-labor, and children deserve to be compensated for their work. Admittedly, education is a form of investment from which the children will reap benefits in the long run. However, we must also acknowledge the fact that we do not educate children solely for their own benefit but for the benefit of society as a whole (per Section 1.). Thus, society must compensate children for their time and effort (minus the costs of schooling).
     The first and most important component of this compensation should be based on a student’s attendance in the required and elected courses. The second and optional component of this compensation should be based on a student’s performance on grades and other performance evaluations.

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