Friday, May 16, 2008

The 'Iron Law' of NS

It was what DPM Datuk Seri Najib Razak said in the aftermath of another NS death. 18-year-old NS trainee Too Hui Min became the 16th youth to die during training and strident calls were once again made for NS to be reviewed and stopped. Nope. The government is adamant it will not shelf NS:

"We cannot scrap the programme just like that as many parties are involved," Najib said after launching the National Youth Day and Week at Felda Sebertak.

Then it hit me like a ton of bricks.

John Gatto, that staunch advocate of alternative education once wrote in his book, Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling, that institutional schooling is inherently destructive to children. But here’s what else he said:

"In one of the great ironies of human affairs, the massive rethinking the schools require would cost so much less than we are spending now that powerful interests cannot afford to let it happen. You must understand that first and foremost the business I am in is a jobs project and an agency for letting contracts. We cannot afford to save money by reducing the scope of our operation or by diversifying the product we offer, even to help children grow up right. That is the iron law of institutional schooling – it is a business, subject neither to normal accounting procedures nor to the rational scalpel of competition."

It appears to me that powerful interests are indeed at work not so much to advance the wellbeing of our children but to line their own pockets or serve some hidden agenda. Someone please correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems that MORE lives have been lost in four years of NS than in all our army training camps put together during the same period of time.

NS, like most institutions that prescribe compulsory training and schooling, is one big gravy train in business for letting contracts. Hasn’t DPM Najib just confirmed what we always knew to be true?


Who Are They? by Goh Keat Peng at Micah Mandate

National Service Call to Parents by Prof Dr Mohamad Tajuddin at The People's Parliament

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