What is the purpose of Education?

The BC School Act has two quotes that set out the goals and purposes of Education in British Columbia:

“it is the goal of a democratic society to ensure that all its members receive an education that enables them to become literate, personally fulfilled and publicly useful, thereby increasing the strength and contributions to the health and stability of that society” – BC School Act (emphasis added)

“the purpose of the British Columbia school system is to enable all learners to become literate, to develop their individual potential and to acquire the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed to contribute to a healthy, democratic and pluralistic society and a prosperous and sustainable economy” – BC School Act (emphasis added)

There are three parts to these statements:

  • literacy, which I would assume would be broadly defined to include numeracy – after Math 11 is a graduation requirement.
  • individual fulfillment
  • public utility – the individual has the skills, knowledge and attitudes required to be a contributing member of society.

There are two clients of the system, then: the individual and the society, and needs of both seem to be weighed equally. 

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