By Aishath Faathin Maseeh, 11A
The manifest function of the education system is to impart knowledge and instil the academic curriculum into young minds, to make our futures more colourful—whereas the latent functions involve the instilling of certain values through a hidden curriculum. This includes respect, teamwork, healthy competition, and other important skills.
However, is this really what the education system truly is? A mere organisation providing us with endless righteous values, and encouraging us to pursue more knowledge?
Unfortunately, nothing in existence is perfect.
Education is nothing but a system promoting capitalism. It conveys the ideology of the ruling class and produces a labour force fitting into the capitalist system, so that the bourgeoisie can benefit from that labour and remain in power. As Sociologists Bowles and Gintis (2002) claimed, ‘schools prepare pupils for adult work ruled by socialising them to function well, and without complaint, in the hierarchical structure of Modern Corporation.’
Bowles and Gintis believed that there is a great similarity between the interactions at school and the workplace. Schools teach students (through the hidden curriculum) to be motivated, obedient, punctual, dutiful and docile—all of which are traits encouraged by the typical workplace, to ensure the survival of the capitalist system.
When the youth become demotivated to continue their pursuit of education—or when they are simply unable to afford further studies—it results in a fatalistic outlook on their futures, and prepares them for a monotonous job requiring little to no skill.
This in itself shows that capitalism exploits different levels of intelligence and financial background, so that a certain group of students will fail their education and work in lower class jobs, while the intellectually (and financially) privileged have a secure future ahead. This is social inequality at its worst, showing how oppressive capitalism truly is.
Capitalism is so deeply embedded into society, that we do not realise how much we succumb to it without even intending to. Capitalism is not evident in just the education system, but also in social institutions and sub-systems such as family, media, and politics.
We are merely subjects of capitalism, equipped to serve the interests of those above us—those controlling us without our knowledge—who use us as mere puppets in a dark abyss of a future.
As Jean Jacques Rousseau stated, ‘A man is born free, but everywhere he is in chains.’ We are controlled and oppressed by the chains of capitalism… and yet we claim to be free and independent, because the unquestioning conformity of society blinds us to capitalist exploitation.