Education for all vs. Quality in Education

Two weeks ago, Latin America lost a leader – Hugo Ch├ívez. I will not defend his regime in this post, neither do I want to discuss his wrongdoings or good deeds here. What I want is to invite you to think about the way our Western liberal societies associate equality to low quality. Take a look at the discussion in this video:

Liberal societies hesitantly accept the idea of equity (the starting point in which everyone has equal opportunities to be whatever they want), but they think equality is evil. Why is equality not desirable? Well, because equality is not the starting point, but the end, and we do not want to be as everyone else ‘at the end’. We want to be rewarded if we work hard, right? We believe that what we are getting out is what we put in, and we want things to be like that. They say that an equal society is one in which people do not have the motivation to work, to think, to produce, (to live?) …

Well, if this is true, our society is then driven by rewards, by the expectation of return at every deed. Every single effort must be compensated. Why would I work 80 hours a week if I knew I would end up like my colleague who works 20h? In this society, it is important to stand out of the crowd, because this seems to be the whole point, to be better than others. I do not go to grad school to worth exactly the same as someone who did not. Right? I do not pay more for a better school for my child for him to have the same chances as other children who go to cheaper schools… The social system is built upon differentiation, but also hierarchization. People worth more or less. The rewards are equivalent to what is arbitrarily defined as a ‘value’.

When we talk about diversity and inclusiveness, we must have this in mind. We have to be a little bit hypocrite to defend diversity within this social system. Discrimination starts with the belief that X is better than Y. People in liberal societies are motivated by the competition. They want to have bigger rewards for doing better work than others. In the educational system, we give students grades and we rank them. Those who studied more receive better grades and better chances in the job market. So, let’s imagine there is no longer race, gender, or nationality, there will be always some people in top positions and people at the bottom, because that is how this system works. I am quite sure other categories would be created to those people at the bottom. If there is no ‘bottom’ , there is no ‘top’. If there is no ‘inferior’, there is no ‘superior’.

Okay. Let’s treat everyone as equals… then we have to ask ourselves: ‘would we be willing to give up our privileges to elevate the other?’ Would we accept to go a step down? Or the condition for the ‘other’ to be elevated is that I can go another step up and keep the distance?

Education of quality for all seems to be an utopia, because people are anxious about the ‘differential’. Nobody wants to be as everyone else. But I feel everybody is completely lost trying to find themselves in the compensations…

Why do we need to be compensated for our efforts? Who are we without the money, the degree, the A’s in our transcripts, the rewards, the compliments and privileges …?

One Response to “Education for all vs. Quality in Education”

  • Ivette Valenzuela says:

    I really enjoyed this post, the video talks about quality and access, we certainly need to increase access without decreasing the quality.
    You have asked many questions, and the answers will change from person to person.
    Education opens many doors no just to better jobs but also to also to other kind mentalities and dreams and that is something that many governments can’t deal with.

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