Chomsky on the Purpose of Education

Jen Asimow found this video of Noam Chomsky and sent it along.

You may not agree with the rather sharp and (too?) cleanly cut dichotomy that he suggests divides educational institutions (and policy), but I don’t think anyone could watch this and not find it thought provoking.

The video is described by Learning Without Frontiers (the host site) this way (the quote is Chomsky (obviously)):

“Education is discussed in terms of whether it’s a worthwhile investment. ‘Does it create human capital that can be used for economic growth?’ It’s a very distorted way to pose the question. Do we want to have a society of free, creative, independent individuals able to appreciate and gain from culture achievements of the past and add to them, or do we want people who can increase GDP. These are not the same thing.”

Noam Chomsky discusses the purpose of education, impact of technology, whether education should be perceived as a cost or an investment and the value of standardised assessment. Presented at the Learning Without Frontiers Conference – Jan 25th 2012- London (LWF 12)

Click HERE for the video. My favorite section is the last section (“Assessment vs. Autonomy”); it starts at 15:45. “You’ll remember what you discover,” he says.  “Education is really aimed at just helping students get to the point where they can learn on their own. Because that’s what they’re going to do for the rest of their life, not just absorb materials given to them from the outside and then repeat it.”

So freakin’ true.

h/t to Jen for the pointer!

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