Deschooling:We don't need no education  

Posted by Praveen in ,

We don't need no education

We don’t need no thought control
No dark sarcasm in the classroom
Teachers leave them kids alone
Hey! Teacher! Leave them kids alone!

-from 'Another brick in the wall II' by Pink Floyd

When Roger Waters wrote these revolutionary lines way back in 1979, he wouldn't have thought that its going to be such an enduring classic, the words of which still ring true. Yesterday, I read an article on 'deschooling' in the exciting new magazine 'Open'. This is a wonderful concept which says that a child can develop better if he's kept away from the school environment. If any teachers are reading this, wait before you pounce on me. Think about it. What happens with the kids in school? They are all taught to behave in a certain way. They are all taught the same things. They all are made to do the same things. But, are all the kids the same? Will you make an engineer do the things that an artist is supposed to do?(Here, am not considering the case of an engineer who's also an artist). Each one of us has an aptitude for certain things right from our kindergarten days. But, many times it happens that a kid is made to do things which he's not supposed to do and as a result when he grows up he ends up where he's not supposed to be. Just think of that superb artist who sat beside you and was spanked mercilessly for letting his imagination fly during class hours.
Fight!!!!!Bruce Leeyaaya Namaha

What we get as output from most schools is an assembly line of products which think and act in the same way. Remember, the input was as diverse a mixture that you can ever get. Now, think of a child who is free from school. He doesn't have any set time tables. He wakes up, interacts with nature, meets people of all ages, plays till he gets tired. Then he starts thinking on how he can make his life more interesting. He explores various possibilities and more often than not he ends up with a possibility which matches his aptitude the most. He doesn't need to conform to those set standards. Maybe, am getting too idealistic here. I do accept the possibility of the kid going the wrong way of bad influences, antisocial behaviour and such things. But, if you observe closely most of the antisocials ended up so because of the societial pressures. You will lose count of the goondas who have the '10th standard failed' qualification. That 'qualification' was enough to make many of them social outcasts, which is a kind of pre requiste to be a goonda.
See, there's also an artistic side to me

Deschooling or unschooling looks like a small remedy for the 'engineering else medicine' syndrome thats prevalent in India right now. If this trend goes on, we'll have a dearth of teachers, artists, craftsmen etc. Am not saying that just by not sending a kid to school, he will select one of these careers. But chances are more that he will find himself a career path that suits him most. As we all know many of us became engineers not by choice, but just as a result of going with the accepted flow. This thought is arrived at by discarding the cynicist arguments. Unschooling has its negative effects too. The child maynot necessarily acquire the social skills to survive. He may become a 'pre historic' monster, far removed from all the changes happening in the world. The lazy ones won't bother exploring new avenues and may spend time sleeping and lazing around. The real unlucky ones may die without ever discovering what is 'sex'(I pity this category of deschoolers the most :P ). The sexually hyperactive may get AIDS. The foolishly adventurous ones may end up getting beaten up badly. The highly intelligent may invent things that will threaten his own existence. But still, atleast more than half of the unschoolers are sure to chart a path for themselves. And when you choose for yourselves, you do it with all earnestness. You won't feel like working. Maybe, thats a stepping stone to a society where everyone does what they like to do, where work is passion and break is just an avoidable distraction.

PS- I don't advocate banning of schools altogether. It would be great if we could mix the good elements of deschooling into the current education structure and let students give more breathing space. Remove all those conformist ideas and let the kids be themselves. Throw out set syllabus and lets have custom made syllabus for each of the kids. Let imagination soar...

About the snaps- This is Yashas, one hell of a naughty kid and my neighbour at Coorg. He's still not old enough to go to school. Restless and always trying out new things, he's the perfect cute problem child. Hope he doesn't have to conform to set standards and be another boring school product :)

your crusader Praveen

This entry was posted on Thursday, August 20, 2009 at Thursday, August 20, 2009 and is filed under , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


good one. Hadnt thought much about it before. As you said in the end the midway would be the best as banning of schools wont b a good idea too :D

1:30 AM


I am thoroughly in agreement with your bold suggestions.

Its time we had a second look at the school system


7:46 AM

Its not for nuts that Floyd sang "Another brick in the wall...." In truth, do we need an education that emphasizes on false control, sarcasm and bad attitude....... I read somewhere "Never let your schooling ruin your education," and more recently "I was alright, until education ruined me."


11:17 AM

sometime i meet you am sure gonna take some photgraphy lessons from you!!

1:45 PM

Banning of schools would be a little too extreme, I think. Go the middle way perhaps?
I remember reading this book 'Totto-Chan: The Little Girl at the Window' loong time back and I remember being mesmerized by its unconventional teaching methods, wishing my school would one fine day adopt the same. Unfortunately that never happened :D Good Read though :-)

5:06 PM

So true praveen... Nowadays schooling is more like a pain to the kids. The sight of my 5 year old cousin going to school with her heavy bag filled with all sorts of subject books makes me cry...
They've spoilt it all in the name of competition...
A little bit of change to the existing system should help to start with :)

7:30 PM

u too? one of my other blog friends was writing on a similar topic (tho not exactly the same). chk it out when u get time... u may find it interesting...

the education system in india is such that all kids irrespective of their potential are grouped together acc to their age. never mind if one kid is slow, one is quick and each one has a different taste/talent... they are all taught the same things, the same way... atleast until 10th after which they get to choose. the scope for specialisation is very less.

worse, in kerala, even today .. the either medicine or engineering syndrome is there. i m thankful that my family supported me while i took up commerce in 12th, did humanities for B.A. and finished my M.A. from abroad. my dad was initially skeptical and raised objections, but when he eventually saw that i was doing well in the subject i chose, he began to support me. that kind of support is very important, without which the student/kid gets restrained within barriers of what to do and how to do.

few kids are taught to think out of the box. imagine where a sania mirza, vishwanathan anand or a r rahman wud be if they werent allowed to follow their passions... immense loss for themselves and the world around them na. i m not sure how many kids lose out in the rat race like that...

11:50 PM

yes, the middle path indeed is the best

@Blue bird
for that, we need pro active measures from the govt.

hehhe..those r my fav t shirt quotes!

man, have seen some of ur snaps in orkut...and u still want classes from me???? :P

@Inf Junkie
yea...I dont support complete banning of schools...we need to restructure the whole thing and perhaps bring in ideas from totto chan ;)

yea..first of all, burn the heavy bagsD

thanks a lot for the link..that was what I was looking for..
Respect...for u and for ur family..for letting u pursue ur dreams...we need more parents like this..before we try to change the existing education system..

1:59 AM

Praveen - I agree with you completely. I am a big fan of Gardner's Theory of Mulitple Intelligences - everybody has their own style of learning and everybody is good at something: we need to nourish and encourage this instead of always trying to squeeze our children into other people's boxes.
Good on you for writing this.

11:12 AM

Thanks for dropping in..
Really, our education planners doesn't seem to have evn heard about this theory..It still one size fits all!

1:13 AM

From, A Beautiful Mind,

Nash: Classes will dull your mind, destroy the potential for authentic creativity.


10:49 AM

Definitely true to some extent. But looking at it the other way around. We have 60 students in a specific class, all being taught the same old things. a handful of them learn the 'mainstream courses' then break the barriers and move ahead and establish themselves by finding the right platform. The less adventurous however are content in taking things as it comes along. Now - if there were no schools and all these 60 were given an option of doing what they like - again it would be those handful who dreamt, that forge ahead to achieve their dreams. But what about the rest - without a fundamental platform, having nowhere to go, and not even having the direction to realise their potential - what would become of them? :)

Though I definitely agree to your point that education ruins creativity, we prbably need to strike a balance.

11:23 AM


I am not going to blame the schools directly for the choices the kids are supposed to take. We Indians have a tendency to make decisions based on fear factor. We fear for our tommorow. We fear an existence with out branded jeans, bike, car ,two storeyed house.. So we live to achieve that.

Before the Engineering Medicine syndrome the rush was for Governement jobs. Tommorrow it will be something else

Another important thing is in India people neednt get the value for our money. You put three fourth of your earning in to a dilapilated home. Huge sums of money for garbage called food. This inturn leads to competition to earn more. But as we earn more we are pulled back deep int the swamp

3:59 PM


11:20 PM

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