School. When you’re a kid, you hate it. When you’re an adult, you hate it and you can’t afford it. But what if there were no more schools? That’s what we’ll look into today, in this episode of The Infographics Show, What If All the Schools Disappeared.
Compulsory education is the norm across nearly every society on earth. Here in the US, most states force kids to go to school from ages 5 to, at a minimum, 16, but some require children to stay in school until 18, after they’ve completed a full high school education. What would happen though if not just primary schools, but universities and technical institutes, all disappeared?
The advantage the human brain has over every other brain in the animal kingdom is its unique ability to ‘learn’ from other’s experiences, making it possible for humans to learn faster and learn more by transferring skills from one individual to another without the recipient needing to go out into the world and discover that skill for themselves. Not only does this help make an individual proficient at a skill faster, but frees up time for them to learn other skills, which they can pass on to others, who will do the same and so on and so on. Over time this ability to ‘learn by watching’ has led the human species from hunting with rocks and spears to building the International Space Station in the span of a few hundred thousand years- an extraordinary accomplishment in comparison to any other intellect on the planet!
In essence, capitalizing on this evolutionary adaptation from our hunter-gatherer days is the entire job of a school, but schools also have another important function: innovating more efficient ways of transferring knowledge from generation to generation. This is why education curriculums are always changing and adapting, and why despite our technology growing by leaps and bounds, the human brain can still keep up with new developments and discoveries without falling behind. But our technology is in fact growing by leaps and bounds, which has resulted in the amount of time an individual spends in professional education growing every decade.
The first and most immediate side effect would be a catastrophic global ‘brain drain’. Our modern and high tech society relies on hundreds of different technical specialties just to keep things running. Without a robust education system in place, individuals would have to be trained ‘on-the-job’, drastically slowing the rate of technological and cultural advancement. This intensive hands-on training would also lead to a contraction of technology across society, as qualified individuals required to run our computer networks, power plants, and the million other jobs that make modern society possible, would have to be painstakingly taught starting all the way back at the fundamentals, things like basic algebra, biology or history.
Without schools our society would be unable to keep up with the intellectual demands of current and new technologies. Instead, we would be forced to abandon most of our technologies, and revert back to a more primitive and simpler age without as heavy intellectual demands placed on the individual. While formal education would disappear, it is likely that we would instead see the return of medieval era and later apprenticeships for most career fields, with children joining the workforce young so as to learn lifelong skills necessary for their career field. Cars, airplanes, rockets, and other machines requiring years and years of engineering and scientific training would be a thing of the past, with humanity likely returning to the days of horses and plows.
But with the disappearance of schools, there too would be a disappearance of choice and personal freedom, as individuals would be forced to select an apprenticeship only within the jobs immediately available to them. In America alone, 290,000 students choose to study abroad, and almost a million students from other nations come to the USA to seek better educational opportunities. These individuals have the opportunity to leave their local communities behind and seek out education for career fields that might not be available at home. Without a school system in place however, this would not be possible.
So next time you’re sitting in class checking your phone and complaining about having to be in school, remember that the cell phone in your hand, the satellite it connects to, and the rocket that got that satellite into orbit, all exist because of that very same classroom you’re currently stuck in. Maybe it’s time to turn that phone off and pay a little more attention in class- unless you’re watching the Infographics Show, in which case you’re probably already learning something really cool!
Do you sometimes wish school would disappear? How do you think it would affect society? Let us know your thoughts in the comments! Also, be sure to check out our other video called Traditional School vs Homeschool – How do they compare? Thanks for watching, and as always, don’t forget to like, share and subscribe. See you next time!