Did you knew that school dates back to the lost civilizations and it’s not a medieval or modern invention? In the ancient civilizations, what we call school or University today was called Academia back then. Academia, etymologically speaking, means a movement of the soul. In those days this meant a movement toward thinking, art and other forms of knowledge.
The conceptual and practical differences are a lot and in fact remain the conceptual differences of nowadays and present us with an ethical question that disturbed even philosophers such as Ivan Illich, who suggested deschooling society.
Narrowing down the differences, we may see that in Plato’s days not everyone could be part of the Academy. Regarding to the social and economical shape of the society back then, only a few were the man who had access and possibility to education. In nowadays, schools, being institutionally tough on their budgets and managed by the governments, offer the possibility for access to every person and this is a good thing.
This is a great development of the times we are living in, but such as it is good, it’s followed by a problem. The uniformity. A lot of philosophers think that the schools nowadays are means of propaganda and create the product, the pupil or what we can call the consumer for the capitalist society.
The main difference is that while the Academia or educational “institutions” back in the days learned people how to think, school is learning people what to think. This is a big difference in approaching to education because education means how we perceive the future of our society.
Educir is the root of the word education. This word comes from Latin language and means to bring out the best in me. To bring out the best it can not be an easy job because it means bringing the best from you, as an individual. Institutions cannot bring out the best in man because man is only a statistic on the eyes of the institutions but man can contribute to bring out the best of the institutions on this case, if they would be properly educated.
What characterizes schools in nowadays is a lack of potentiality to educate the young on virtues and create the environment for people to blossom and be creative. The tricky part is that the institution has the power to gather man together, but only man has the power to create a learning and enjoyable community such as were the Academias in Antiquity, followed by the Universities in Renaissance. That’s why people take information and are tested or being more exact their memory is tested but their creativity remains neutral.
This article does not suggest to abolish school or to be against it, but suggests not being only an institutionalized scholar, but even a life scholar. This means that we can learn formally, but also be creative. In other words, respect the school as an institution and try to make an individual effort to reconceptualize the institution as a purpose in itself, learning.