Inappropriate education

Experimental visualization of narrower problems
Other Names:
Myths about education
Incomplete education

The foundations of modern education are enshrined in myths that have come to be accepted without question. There is the myth that ignorance is a solvable problem rather than an inescapable part of the human condition, since the advance of knowledge always carries with it the advance of some form of ignorance.

There is the myth that with enough knowledge and technology humanity can "manage the planet Earth" by further extending human domination, despite the increasingly apparent fact that the complexity of the Earth and its life systems can never be safely managed.

There is the myth that knowledge is increasing, although it is increasingly apparent that only some kinds of knowledge are increasing, whilst other kinds are being lost. In the confusion of information with knowledge, the myth has developed that somehow learning increases human goodness and makes people better, although ultimately it may be the knowledge of the good that is most threatened by all of the other advances sustained by modern education. It is quite probable that humanity is effectively becoming more ignorant of the things that must be known to live well and sustainably on the Earth.

There is the myth that humanity can adequately restore what it has dismantled, as typified by the modern curriculum fragmented into isolated disciplines and subdisciplines, of which a consequence is that most students graduate without any broad integrated sense of the unity of the systems through which life is sustained.

There is the myth that the purpose of education is to give individuals the means for upward mobility and success at a time when it is not successful people that are required but rather people capable of living well in their environments and capable of struggling to make the world more habitable and humane.

And there is the myth that modern human culture represents the pinnacle of human achievement, which is a dangerous form of cultural arrogance in a period of cultural disintegration.


[Developing countries] The attitudes, aspirations and expectations perpetuated and stimulated by educational systems in developing countries tend to create a growing discrepancy between the employment opportunities that exist and the job expectations of school leavers and graduates. In addition, the function of the school is often seen to be to qualify students rather than to educate them. This leads to frustration and a sense of alienation on the part of those who fail and who therefore probably remain unemployed, while those who do qualify feel entitled to status and salary rather than encouraged to earn them. Qualifications are at any rate not regarded as an opportunity for self-fulfilment or for public service. The outcome is an educated elite minority holding certificates for the best jobs, even though these jobs may not exist in sufficient quantities; a majority of those educated being inappropriately trained for what real conditions require; and a retarding and distorting of informal education.

Broader Problems:
Inadequate education system
Problem Type:
D: Detailed problems
Date of last update
01.12.2017 – 10:07 CET