Children Education Disparities
Education was meant for all children in equal measure. However, the education for the aboriginal children portrayed some form of inequality. This was because of the hidden curriculum that was practised for the aboriginal children. Hidden curriculum refers to the unintended and unofficial education that children gather in the process of learning. Lessons such as how to relate to other children and effectively communicate are all part of the hidden curriculum. The social setting of the school environment serves as a major contributing factor to the hidden curriculum. It’s because the immediate environment would subconsciously influence the way children behave. (Francks, O. R, 1978)
Also, the culture of the majority of children in the schools will largely influence the kind of hidden curriculum children are exposed to. The hidden curriculum cultivated disparities in the society by encouraging the splitting of cultures and social behaviours among the children. This is because, for instance, the children who go to schools of a higher class would develop a different form of hidden education from those children attending schools perceived of a lower class carder. Promotion of disparities through the different social classes induces a negative connotation. This is because the education-related capital must be equally distributed and the unequal distribution of these capitals would water down the effectiveness of education.
Content expressed how detrimental the hidden curriculum was to the development of children’s’ unique values and strengths. He describes how parents disliked compulsory schooling for their children. The use of coercion in the Indian education played a major role in wiring children to a fixated kind of mannerism. This then reduced their potential in many ways. As demonstrated in the DVD ‘lost childhood’, the beatings in school and the fixated education system reduced the aspect of self-discovery, among the school going children.
Narrow Education Concept
The damages caused by the 80 residential schools were alarming. Through the provision of inadequate skills and training, children were deprived of the essential skills that would have boosted their academic prowess as well as maintaining and improving on their cultural values. In addition to cultural deprivation, children were also exposed to numerous cases of abuse. Narrow education concept that trained children to compete with the white man world further degraded the situation. Provision of elementary schools, farming, and agriculture, trade, sewing, and cooking was a strategy to breed the Indian children in opposite to the underlying norms and values currently present in the Indian society. Aboriginal people would then be presumed to become extinct due to the numerous ails that befitted them. These would include lack of skills, starvation, and illnesses. (Cole, E. A., Dierkes, J., Yoshida, T., Clark, P., Kitson, A., Valls, R., Oglesby, E., … Chapman, 2007)
The residential schools were located far away from the reserves, where the presence and influence of parents were very limited. Government and missions’ aims of eliminating the older generations and their influence in the society had not borne many fruits. It is then that the targeted the children by taking them away from the influence of parents, where the cultural norms in the society were cut off. The school going children were completely cut off from the influence of the societal cultures, norms, and values. In place of that, they received civilised kind of lifestyles. This went a long way to lessen their values and sense of belonging. It was a misconception that the aboriginal wanted the white man’s civilisations and form of life. They only needed their skills. In that case, they were sidelined and kept at bay from participating in the important decision making in the society. Their voice was not heard, and no one cared for their welfare.
This therefore closely compares with the hidden curriculum concept extrapolated by Content. This form of education down played the common principle of having a common education for all while reducing the disparities brought about by the social classes in the society. The 80 schools bred children to have different kinds of social lifestyles.
The success of common schools in the 19th century Canada was not very successful. In the beginning, children were viewed as clay to be moulded into the desired shape. Therefore, the concept of having a mixed system of education sufficed. However, this did not take root because before long, the view of school going children changed from that of clay to the seedling prototype. This is because, in the 19th Century Canada, the view of children was that of seedlings which had to be cultivated according to different abilities and potentials. However, many reforms had already been undertaken to improve the overall quality of education in the curriculum. Some of the reforms include the following; (Canada, 2000)
Standardisation Of Textbooks And Children Curriculum
To improve the quality of the content for curriculum, textbooks were standardised. Upon the changing cultures and the nature of education, education content also had to be updated and standardised to be more accurate with the present times and also reflect the past relevant educational content. Though the concept of cultivating the children according to their diversities regarding abilities, potentials, talents and other differences had surfaced, they were still able to access the same curriculum.
This was a movement that was meant to improve the overall quality of education among the school going children. A review of the trainers had to be done, and teachers were trained to present a quality education to the Canadian children.
It was necessary to change the appearance of classrooms to accommodate a mixture of children from a different race, religion, and other diversities.
The concept of common schools failed in the following areas:
i) The growth of new educational programs
With time, children were viewed as seedlings which differed regarding different potentials. These educational programs were meant to accommodate the students lagging behind in educational prowess. In this case, those children who underperformed were placed in special programs to boost their potential. These special programs included training and vocational courses, for those children who were unable to proceed to the next level of education. However, this practice deciphered to take a new twist. Programs designed to position the students into relevant levels as measured by the intellectual ability changed. Intellectual ability was no longer the basis for positioning students to their respective educational levels, but it was majorly based on social and cultural prejudice.
Ii) Provision of separate schools as a result of religious and language diversities
Though earlier the school curriculum provided a common curriculum regardless of religious affiliations, more and more protests were experienced. The different religions started to express their grievances of dislike of the common Christian standards and contents. The present educational system had put the communities inside the box by forcing the communities to conform to specifically prescribed standards. Protests experienced, however, put the officials into scrutiny. It is then that parallel Catholic, and protestant schools in Quebec were formed. Also, separate schools were formed in different provinces such as Ontario. In additional to that different denominational schools were formed in Newfoundland. The Constitutional Act of 1867 provided a guarantee for all the developments above. The effect of all these developments was that the denominational school systems emerged. It also caused the assignment of education to provinces, practices which had earlier faded. The effect of the changes above in the educational system was that the concept of common schools was eventually diluted. Schooling was latter fragmented and common education for all the Canadian children had become a pipe dream. It was becoming difficult especially because of the diversities that started coming into play, at the time.
Culture And Discrimination In Education
Although the concept of common schooling has been propagated in Canada, the problem of discrimination regarding minority cultures and languages has served as a major setback. Its educational history has constantly inherited conflicts brought about by major discrimination. Francophone outside Quebec marked most controversies. Later, language controversy in schools affected Quebec Anglophones.
In additional to the above, language heritage instructions to children belonging to immigrant groups contributed further to conflicts and controversies in schools. Going by the above, it is openly evident that the concept of common curriculum and schools had been thrown to the dogs, in the 19th century Canada. Differing schooling systems continually began to suffice, while the efforts to form common schools proof hard and futile, in the long run. It could be well projected that the reason for the impediments above is that policy makers and parents had to compete for educational visions. Efforts to form common school systems and curriculum always received different opposing forces, in every effort.
In the bid for common schools, the force of gender discrimination later sufficed. Within the concepts of standard education, distinctions between males and females started playing out. In the 19th century, the ideal school-house included separate entrances, recess areas for boys and girls and classes. In the 19th century, education for girls had different perspectives from that of boys. Girls were educated to equip them with necessary skills for household responsibilities. Boys, on the other hand, were educated in the perspective of giving them adequate skills of being breadwinners. In the 19th century Canada, girls attended home economics programs to be trained on the basics of home responsibilities like cooking and cooking. Boys, on the other hand, learned manual skills that are necessary for working in factories. (Ontario., & Upper Canada, 1800)
In a bid to create a uniform society, numerous obstacles always sufficed. Different school curriculums have evolved struggling with the concept of offering a common ground for all the children. The elite has created a sort of different environment for their children. It is evident with the current society that though common schools were advocated for, it was never successful. There are groups of schools with very expensive school fees. It, therefore, locks out those children from the poor backgrounds. In those expensive schools, children are given the best and lack nothing. On the other hand, those children who go to cheap public schools have to face numerous hurdles to succeed. There is a great difference between the two groups separated by social classes. Though much has been done to provide a level ground, the forces of social classes and cultures have downplayed the efforts. Much has to be done to deal with the concept of separate and special schools to create a society that appreciates one another despites different affiliations.
Despite the shortfalls described above, we cannot deny that much has changed for the good in society. At least the disparities brought about as a result of colonialism has way faded away. The only challenge, however, is raising the bar of education in public schools. There should be uniformity in all types of schools. Also, religious education should be offered in the form of clubs and societies, which are a hidden curriculum. In this way, there would be some uniformity in the level of education. Religious subjects should be separated from formal education. This way, disparities will be reduced, and at the same time, children are provided with the right to acquire and learn their different religious affiliations. This will reduce the chances of their being revolts like the ones for Canada which led to the formations of separate schools.
Francks, O. R. (1978). A view of the “hidden curriculum” through an exploratory study of evaluative techniques and influences in the classroom.
Cole, E. A., Dierkes, J., Yoshida, T., Clark, P., Kitson, A., Valls, R., Oglesby, E., … Chapman, A. (2007). Teaching the Violent Past: History Education and Reconciliation. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.
Canada. (2000). Documents about the abolition of separate schools in the Province of Manitoba. Ottawa: B. Chamberlin.
Ontario., & Upper Canada. (1800). Annual report of the normal, model and common schools in Upper Canada. Toronto: Printed by Lovell and Gibson.