How the system works – or doesn’t!

Schools are entangled in a system of mutual interdependence connecting the state, society and market.

Let’s have a closer look at this arrangement.

Main photo - How the system works – or doesn’t!

School is the foundation of the modern state, society and market

The kind of state, society and market we have depends on our schools. On the other hand, the shape and quality of the public education system is the result of the condition of the state, society and market.

The state creates schools

The state is made of the central and the local government, which, at least theoretically, are like two lungs of the same organism. As the local government is closer to people, it organises the everyday operation of schools, financing them and taking part in the selection of their headmasters. The central government, on the other hand, oversees the standards of teaching via the Ministry of Education and Science as well as via pedagogical supervision (school boards). It also ensures that local governments and schools throughout the country cooperate well. Finally, it may also curb the attempts of the local governments to close down small schools in the country. However, if used improperly, the same tool may turn teaching into indoctrination.

Schools create the state and the nation

At the core of a nation state is the idea that its residents call themselves a nation. For this to happen, they have to feel a bond with other members of the community. Schools are important tools for creating this bond. It is schools that instil the set of key values and symbols which the members of a particular nation identify with. These may include a shared language, convictions, religion and national symbols such as the national emblem and the constitution. Everything depends on what we put emphasis on.

There is no market without schools

It is schools that supply the market with educated employees, consumers as well as managers and employers.

The market shapes schools

Current demand in the market determines the profile of graduates that are needed. Schools work differently in the times of high demand for manual labourers, military recruits and farm managers than in the times of demand for creative workers, conscious consumers and cooperation-oriented managers.

Schools shape the society…

In the past people acquired the basics of social life at home and in the family. Nowadays, it the schools and education, which lasts longer and longer, that are primarily responsible for this process. The freer the education, the more open and civil the society. And vice versa: the less critical the education, the more closed the society.

…and reflect it

The way the society is organised has impact on the operation of schools, which become tools for consolidating and replicating the model. If the society is highly stratified, schools will not be a tool of emancipation but a mechanism for reinforcing inequalities. On the other hand, countries with greater social cohesion can create more egalitarian schools, providing everyone with equal opportunities.