The suspicious relationships between education and work

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  • Education for employment generates uncritical workers, who do not organize or claim. In this way, educating for work becomes educating for survival, not for a full life.

Of course, every human being must learn and train for their productive contribution to the world. Of course, work must be valued because, beyond sociological and political considerations, it constitutes one of the ways to build humanity and to shape our societies and environments. Therefore, understanding education today must also include work, from critical views on the relationship between education and the productive and economic system. Those relationships are not neutral or simple to understand relationships. They are rather strange relationships and suspicions, since they are accorded by discourses and practices that hide more than they reveal.

For example, there is talk of educating for work and when reviewing the conceptual bases and social meanings of these educational proposals, it is discovered how the acquisition of skills or the emphasis on technical and productive skills is an insistence on training and on the development of a working class that operates at the lowest levels of productionor, in a few individuals, some access to managerial positions. They emphasize that it is about education helping to improve people’s quality of life (something that is valid in a deep sense), but only through certain conditions that facilitate some employability. In realities such as Latin America, so affected for a long time by unemployment, even with really dramatic realities of underemployment, putting the educational system to generate certain skills is teaching how to use the tap, but without pipes or water in them.

Educating for work constitutes an expression so internalized in the dominant pedagogical phraseology, because nobody resists it, it is a beautiful expression in contexts of poverty and anxiety to find a job . But that is precisely why it is also a phrase that hides the claims of economic power through the dominance of the educational system . They are taught to be a worker at the service of the owners of companies, factories and farms; skills necessary to earn certain wages are taught; Thousands of young people are taught and encouraged to work in call centers where years and years may go without developing or evolving.

But this discourse is also the one that “naturalizes” that education teaches boys, girls and young people to be workers, but not to be citizens and political subjects. The strange relationships between education and work create workers who do not unionize, organize, demand, or demand . Extreme poverty means that a low salary becomes the exit from the path of death for millions of graduates of the educational system, and that any search for other horizons is abandoned through commitment and transformative action.

Consequently, in these postulates, the abandonment of the study and understanding of human rights in general, and labor rights in particular, is justified, with the consequence that the so-called “integral education” gives way to a technocratic education. Educating for work thus seems to educate to survive, not for a full life , and to feed the economic powers through uncritical and therefore poorly paid labor. The round business of dominant education and pedagogy!

Our call must be for a work education that politicizes the relationship between youth and systems; that the achievement of technical skills is accompanied by the development of social and emotional skills, as well as a critical understanding of reality, mainly the economic and political context; that they discover the possibility of other productive paths. It is about education not “giving” the best of our planet to those greedy monsters that feed not only on the poverty of millions of human beings, but mainly on the political and contextual ignorance that their own school education creates for them.

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