„I wanted to find out where the idea came from that all over the world people have to be assembled in specific groups of not less than fifteen, otherwise it's not a class, not more than forty, otherwise they are underprivileged, for yearly, not less than 800 hours, otherwise they don't get enough, not more than 1,100 hours, otherwise it's considered a prison, for four-year periods by somebody else who has undergone this for a longer time.“

—  Ivan Illich, Context: During the late sixties I had a chance to give a dozen addresses to people who were concerned with education and schooling. I asked myself, since when are people born needy? In need, for instance, of education? Since when do we have to learn the language we speak by being taught by somebody? I wanted to find out where the idea came from that all over the world people have to be assembled in specific groups of not less than fifteen, otherwise it's not a class, not more than forty, otherwise they are underprivileged, for yearly, not less than 800 hours, otherwise they don't get enough, not more than 1,100 hours, otherwise it's considered a prison, for four-year periods by somebody else who has undergone this for a longer time. How did it come about that such a crazy process like schooling would become necessary? Then I realized that it was something like engineering people, that our society doesn't only produce artifact things, but artifact people. And that it doesn't do that by the content of the curriculum, but by getting them through this ritual which makes them believe that learning happens as a result of being taught; that learning can be divided into separate tasks; that learning can be measured and pieces can be added one to the other; that learning provides value for the objects which then sell in the market. And it's true. The more expensive the schooling of a person, the more money he will make in the course of his life. This in spite of the certainty, from a social science point of view, that there's absolutely no relationship between the curriculum content and what people actually do satisfactorily for themselves or society in life.
Ivan Illich photo
Ivan Illich6
1926 - 2002
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