Best Practices? :
thesisposted on 2021-05-23, 13:05 authored by Antonie E. Scholtz
"The process of educating, of passing on the spirit of inquiry and wisdom in all its forms, is as old as humanity itself. From the oral tradition of Socrates and Plato, through the development of the Phoenician alphabet and Gutenberg's printing press, through the rise of the public school during the Industrial Revolution, and through the many inventions of the twentieth century, education has been an intersection of social practices, technological innovation, and competing ideological visions about children, learners, and what constitutes knowledge. Today's educational landscape is no different, with educators confronting the many challenges of globalization, diasporic cultures, and, the focus of this study, rapidly advancing digital technologies. It is my intention to use the pronouncements and initiatives of the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada (CMEC) to examine the ideologically-determined possibilities envisioned for emerging technologies. To this end, the CMEC will not serve as an exhaustive case study but rather as an example of how high level, heavily politicized policy choices are and will profoundly affect the structure, if not the very existence, of elementary and secondary public schooling in Canada. I will argue that the CMEC is an increasingly powerful coordinator on national pedagogical questions and is part of a broader trend towards privileging neoliberalist principles. Operating on both a contradictory and deterministic philosophy, I will argue that neoliberalism, embodied by the Council, is leading public education down the road not to a future where the liberal arts, individual needs and market criterion are balanced but rather to a more centralized, homogenizing, and weaker system which prizes economic utility over democratic virtues and individual growth. Further, not only is the position of the CMEC deeply paradoxical but, in the end, neither educational future it offers-radically child-centredness nor the hyper-competitiveness fostered by its policy initiatives-is in fact desirable."--Pages 1-2.