Failing the Class: How our education system went wrong and what to do about it

Ines Lee & Eileen Tipoe:

The original model of education, devised by the Ancient Greeks, aimed to produce well-informed citizens by fostering intellectual development and thinking skills. Under the rise of pragmatism in the late 1800s, the primary focus of education shifted to achieving economic outcomes and specific jobs, which stood in direct contrast to philosopher and educational reformer John Dewey’s idea that “the educational process has no end beyond itself; it is its own end”.

In modern times, the two purposes of education are often conceptualised as a dichotomy, with greater emphasis on one purpose requiring a sacrifice of the other. Nowadays, most students, particularly those studying subjects not explicitly associated with a vocation, have been asked: “But how will that help you get a job?” The ubiquity of this question reflects the growing importance of education for career development, fuelled by changes to the higher education business model and government priorities.