Deinstitutionalizing Education

Deinstitutionalizing Education

While a great deal of virtual ink has been spilled over the need to reform our schools and universities, I think we need to question how we manage education altogether. For it is manifest that the institution, the form in which we have managed education and society in general, has ultimately come to failure.

We must take matters into our own hands. For example, I do not accept the conclusion that the use of the Internet to educate ourselves is some sort of surrender to neoliberalism. Far from it; it removes us from the sort of bondage that allows such a government to withhold, as though by some sort of right, our natural inheritance, our access to the knowledge and cultural capital of society as a whole. It is only from the perspective of people as consumers or recipients of an education that online learning appears as a devolution of individual rights to commercial culture; but if in place of the educational institution we create our own form of learning through free association with each other, then we create an educational system that cannot be abridged, cannot be held hostage, cannot be sacrificed to corporate or proprietary interests.

We need to design forms of social organization based on different values, forms that promote stewardship, agility and stability, forms that draw on and enhance our inherent capacities as collections of individuals, rather than forms that magnify or amplify the abilities — and ambitions — of single ones of us.

People today are beginning to realize, I think, that the solution of the problem of institutional excess does not lie in the creation of more institutions. The solution to the problem of the corruption of mass movements does not lie in the creation of yet another mass movement. The solution to the problems of greed and entitlement in our leaders and elites does not lie in the creation of more leaders and elites. The way to end war is to cease waging war; the way to free us of our chains is to cease forging chains. We secure our own right in society by securing the right of each and every member of society, by working not as in a bond, but by virtue of free association, of cooperative exchange of mutual value, with natural limits to the right to own, and possess, and control.

About Giorgio Bertini

Research Professor. Founder Director at Learning Change Project - Research on society, culture, art, neuroscience, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, autopoiesis, self-organization, rhizomes, complexity, systems, networks, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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