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Can compulsory education be equated to imprisoning children?

Compulsory education came into effect in the latter half of the 19th century. It was then used as a tool to absorb and integrate the new immigrants. Fast forward to today and all states in the country have instituted compulsory attendance laws which have a minimum and maximum age for students. As much as it is viewed as a noble and necessary cause, could it be that it is the reason for the many problems in education today? Could some of the issues in public education that we face as a country be significantly reduced if compulsory education was abolished?

Samantha Barber

in Education News

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Jodi Brooks on February 9, 2018

Compulsory ed as imprisonment. Wow! Where do I begin? First and foremost, children under the age of 16-18 years old are under their parents and basically have to live and abide by their parents’ rules and regulations. Shall we say that they are imprisoned just because mum and dad say that curfew is 6.00pm and everyone has to eat what has been prepared on the table? In the same way, our country has rules, regulations and structures in place to avoid the chaos that would erupt from everyone doing whatever it is they wanted to do. School should definitely be mandatory in order to provide the youth with academic and social skills that they will require when they begin “adulating” and realize that free will does have its consequences.

I will not deny that there are problems in education now but blaming it on compulsory school attendance is stretching it a bit. School should be seen as a preparation for what will come ahead. Teachers and instructors support and guide their students into becoming their exceptional best. The fact that some teachers do not truly care for their students may be a problem but we cannot lash it out on formal education. School is where children get to interact with all sorts of characters away from their familial home and neighborhood. This social growth is an important step in preparation for adulthood.

School is a holistic experience which challenges students mentally and also helps to keep them from toxic habits such as crime and drug and alcohol abuse. Some families cannot afford to educate their children. Compulsory education makes education accessible to every child, by law, regardless of their ethnic, social or political background. Research also shows that the level of education that’s achieved is directly proportional to their economic future. There are of course the exceptions but generally, those with higher levels of education make more money.

There are however, issues in public ed that have dragged down the positive effects of compulsory education. The curriculum doesn’t fully accommodate the non-book worms. Having to sit in a class day in, day out with a teacher dictating makes the students passive and generally uninterested. It is important to infuse creativity so as to make school a more enjoyable experience. We have to appreciate that if children were given a choice, they would much rather stay at home and play. Who then would be coming up with all these powerful tools of technology?

Kurt Pricea year ago

You can take a donkey to the river but you can’t force it to drink. Argument closed. Why are we forcing kids to do what they clearly are not interested in doing? Compulsory education is prison and what’s so sad is that we’re going to walk around in denial by giving it all sorts of names. The problem with education today is that we have to go through it! What’s even worse is that we mess with kids’ self-esteem. The A students walk around with pride while those who are constantly at the bottom of the food chain walk around with their heads hanging low. What exactly are we encouraging? Are we trying to tell our kids that they’re not good enough? School enforces a sense of loathing and shallows what would have been diversity in thinking making everybody reason in the same predictable way lacking all sorts of creativity.


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