Capitalist Education

Capitalist Education

We live in a polarized, competitive, capitalist society. From a young age we are taught to succeed, to improve, and to climb the ranks. This is not necessarily bad, as it allows us to advance as a community and to develop as people; however, when done in excess, especially to a child, it can be dangerous and can lead to negative consequences. 

The world we live in promotes unhealthy competition and enhances stress, anxiety, and other problems such as impostor syndrome. 

This is done through the basic structures of society: you study to be ready to work, then you work to be able to survive. Although this system sounds balanced – maybe even reasonable — the underlying truth is that it is unsustainable: a few rich people get better opportunities, which gets them better jobs and makes them even richer, they then get access to even better education and the cycle continues. The education system is capitalism in its greatest definition. It encourages the capitalist lifestyle and makes us part of the system from a very young age. The opposite happens to the wide group of less fortunate people who were not born into a privileged situation: their education is less prestigious or of a lower quality, which gets them a not-so-good job and ultimately, once again, the cycle keeps on going. This proves to be not only segregating, but also unsustainable. 

It would be bad enough if segregation were the only factor involved, but this isn’t the case. In this system, the pressure of expectations weighs on the children who follow this path, and the misuse of pedagogy (for example, a lot of homework, a day full of activities or long blocks of classes, the incredible number of  responsibilities, etc.) causes many difficulties for students.   Although some may argue that this prepares them for the future, it is not healthy at the young age at which children start preschool. 

I really don’t feel ready to make decisions that could possibly alter my future. I don’t even know who I am, least [of all] what I would want to be. ”

— Sofie Lagunas

This creates unwanted and undeserved stress which can then lead to more dangerous situations such as low self-esteem, eating disorders, and even suicide. This topic especially should not be taken lightly, as it can create difficult situations for all of us, be it directly or not. In addition to academic pressures, teenagers and children are undergoing many changes both physically and psychologically, which wear them down. With the addition of external stress, there are more likely to be drastic consequences in terms of health and well-being.

The educational system does not account for this, as it doesn’t account for the differences between learners and of their capacities, forcing them all towards a single goal, even though there are many different paths to many types of success. It is designed for a single type of student, a single type of person. It is not friendly with its users and we are all its users. 

On the march towards this goal, the educational system forces teenagers to make life-changing decisions, even though they still do not have the maturity to decide taking all factors into consideration. 

Sofía Lagunas, a high school senior in Mexico says, “I really don’t feel ready to make decisions that could possibly alter my future. I don’t even know who I am, least [of all] what I would want to be.” Though efforts are being made to change these flaws, including scholarships and financial aid given to exceptional students and the different learning styles being implemented into private school curriculums, this is not enough. The wide majority cannot access private education and the public ones on offer follow this capitalist structure, leaving them to the same fate.

We are all part of this issue and we should tackle the root problem in order to make a difference. Let’s make education inclusive, and then we can start to see improvement.