Until the Education Acts of the19th century, it was very easy to argue that the majority should have no say in government because they could not read and write – an argument that was also used by white people in North America against people of African origin. According to the Guardian, 20th April 2005 half of the British prison population at that time had poor literacy and numeracy levels and had gained no qualifications in school. 40% were said to have a severe literacy problem. This was based on tests done on their reception in prison.
So it seems that many of those who contribute in a negative way to our society have not been able to fully benefit from the present education system. A 2002 report by the Social Exclusion Unit stated that most prisoners come from socially excluded groups. They were 13 times more likely than the average to have been in the care of the state and even more likely to have been unemployed. This is in a relatively wealthy country. What of the other end of the scale? Somalia is one of the worlds poorest countries.
They rank lowest in the United Nations list of social and economic levels that use in order to assess human development. Their estimate of literacy levels is about 24%. Compare this with the United States of America, which has a literacy rate above 86%When a child is born in whatever society, from the richest to the poorest, it is totally dependent. Education, in whatever form, leads that child to independence. This includes what he learns at home which will include everything from how to interact and what is and is not acceptable behavior, to the learning of colors, names and family stories.
Later, at school or college and by his interactions in the wider world he will learn about society in general and what is expected of him. In the past education has been used by governments as a form of control. For instance the banning of Welsh in Welsh schools. This no longer goes on, but for many years it meant that children were being cut off from their natural inheritance.
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