What happens when the only goals and objectives of a school, university or post-academic institute is not to develop a general knowledge and a personal critical thinking but to develop suitable skills in order to become productive and successful on doing a specific task?
Should the schools give room to build the personal thought and interests of the student or should the schools teach the student a specific «productive» knowledge allowing the student being competitive and successful on the market?
The announced cuts in education in the Netherlands – and other countries – between 2011 and 2012, can lead us into a future scenario where studies not suitable to feed market's productivity and competitively will shrink – or even make disappear – some studies offered by schools, shortening the ability of decision for the student, the future productive and successful worker. Success as the only purpose of the future education.
The School of Success is a project focused on creating a discussion about the current alarming situation of the high education. Primarily focused on the Netherlands, were the former government announced a strong cut in the education budget, the School of Success attempts to analyse the agents that take part on that scenario. Obviously it concerns to a broader general situation of the high education system since not only the Netherlands has been affected. Other countries as Spain, when the actual right party has realised a cut of 10.000 millions in education or England where the tuition fees were almost tripled, are suffering for strong cuts on education.
On an contemporary time were seems that the goals and objectives of the schools and universities are switching from getting knowledge to feed the market needs, the School of Success pretend to be critical and ironic to that and offer a place for struggle just what the universities and schools should be.
The first step of the School of Success has been to analyse the situation in the Netherlands creating a map which explores the possible consequences that the political and economical decisions are causing or can cause on the school and the students. Thus, the relation between the school, the student and the economical troubles for both, are crucial on the research. In the case of the students, there is a tendency of getting big amounts of debt, as it's already happening in the United States of America. For the schools, the decrease of government aids could provoke a tendency of privatise schools, which it will affect to the students (see below pictures of the installation at Graduation Finals ArtEZ 2012 Exhibition).
Within a format of a A1, the map is showed divided in 8 pieces – each of those pieces in a A3 size. At the same time, the information found on the map it's extended with several texts which shows reactions, opinions and related content about the cuts in education. Thus, on a second phase, the School of Success creates a serie of phamplets in order to distribute both, the research map and the related information, called «Dispersal pamplhets; distress signals for high education» where one side holds a 1/8 of the map and the other side a text with relevant information.
There is four main topics on the pamphlets divided in three different colours. Green, for information strongly related with economic issues emphasising the growing debt problem over students; Blue for essays and analysis of the nature and actual conception of the education system; Red for reactions as manifestos or letters to the ones who are planning the cuts; and finally Black for information about the School of Success as platform – SoS nº0 which function as an index of the first eight pamplhets as well.
How is the school going to evolve? How is it going to be the school of the future? This research doesn't pretend to answer these questions but by analysing and «mapping» all different agents (economics, politics, schools, organisations, students, and so on) and their point of views, thoughts, and reactions; it hopes to open a dialogue while giving some clues toward which directions can take education in the future.
As it's said in the Netherlands:
(*) School of Success platform will be available as soon as possible with all related material. Meanwhile, you can get a print copy of the set of pamphlets (printed with a Risograph on Munken paper) contacting by mail.