The paper " Why Should Schools Continue to Exist" is a wonderful example of a report on education. The absurdity of the question of whether schools should continue to exist or not is rendered by the controversy of the definition of the word: school. Strictly speaking, a school is an institution or situation in which learning takes place. To define school as such gives rise to another controversy that results from the fact that every time is a learning moment. Just like Shakespeare says, the world is a stage… (Dolan, 2000); I would propose that the world is a learning experience and therefore a school.
With this in view, it means that because the world exists, the school that is the world is inevitable. Deschooling, a notion handled by Illich in his book 'Deschooling Society', gives it another perspective worthy examination. To tackle this issue, one needs to get a working definition for school. The school, according to Illich (1970) is taken to be a formal situation, institutionalized, in which knowledge is imparted to individuals. It is against this background that we shall examine the notion of schooling.
In his book, Deschooling Society, where he tries to dwarf the institutionalized society, he talks about many other capitalistic institutions among them being school. His work is set against the background of the 1960s when there was criticism of the institutionalized society. He juxtaposes school and education and says that they are diametrically opposed concepts. School as a ritualized concept comes clear in his criticisms that border on the sheer controversy: there is no other servitude than the belief that school is the only way of obtaining knowledge.
Rather, there are other more practical ways of obtaining knowledge. It is in his work that most arguments are to burst alive in this paper. This paper, therefore, is going to base its arguments on the foundations that this scholar of the twentieth century lays. Another perspective of the issue that cannot escape mention is the way society uses the school as a way of fragmentation, stratification, and therefore the issue of the age-old social cleavage. Firstly, set against the mythical aspect of predetermination as opposed to spontaneity or self-perpetuating progress, the process of schooling is dwarfed by Illich (1970) where he says "… Schooling-the production of knowledge, the marketing of knowledge, which is what the school amounts to-draws society into the trap of thinking that knowledge is hygienic, pure, respectable, deodorized, produced by human heads and amassed in a stock" ( pp. 19-20).
This, however, is not the case because the divinity of knowledge does not have its roots in the aspect of amassing but the ability to use or apply the knowledge in the daily lives of individuals so as to produce an all-rounded individual.
This, therefore, drifts the argument to the perspective of gaining experience practically as a source of knowledge. Although someone cannot live long enough to experience everything, they can always learn from the experience of others. Knowledge is power, so goes the adage, but the source does not have to be exclusively schooling. In addition, knowledge cannot be amassed and stored without putting it into practice. Schooling, too, does not guarantee absorption of knowledge because of the idiosyncrasies that arise from individual pedagogical processes.
This paradoxically attacks the institution of school that claims to pride in making the acquisition of knowledge universal. The institution, therefore, does not achieve its functions. However, society has programmed its people to believe this thus bracing the aspect of servitude.