Compulsory Common Schooling and Individual Difference

  • Robin Barrow


This chapter argues for a compulsory state system of schooling in the common interest and the interests of individual autonomy. But first, various qualifications and distinctions are introduced: for instance, “compulsion” is distinguished from “coercion” and a “common curriculum” is discussed without implying a common set of teaching practices or even “a common classroom”. Further, some exceptions are singled out as in need of special provision, as it is recognized that the argument of this chapter does not entail that the entire system should be “common” or uniform. Thus, it is more specifically argued that the compulsory state system should involve a common curriculum providing a “general” or “liberal” education for those who can benefit from it until half way through the secondary stage (c.16 years). At the end of that period, by contrast, there should be a return to the provision of a number of distinct kinds of further education, for, as Aristotle notes: individualised education is as important as individualised medical treatment.


State System State Provision Comprehensive School Hide Curriculum Independent School 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Simon Fraser UniversityBurnabyCanada

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