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Deschooling Society

Deschooling Society is a 1971 book written by Austrian priest Ivan Illich that critiques the role and practice of education in the modern world.

Deschooling Society begins as a polemical work that then proposes suggestions for changes to education in society and learning in individual lifetimes. For example, he calls for the use of advanced technology to support “learning webs“, which incorporate “peer-matching networks“, where descriptions of a person’s activities and skills are mutually exchanged for the education that they would benefit from. Illich argued that, with an egalitarian use of technology and a recognition of what technological progress allows, it would be warranted to create decentralized webs that would support the goal of a truly equal educational system:

A good educational system should have three purposes: it should provide all who want to learn with access to available resources at any time in their lives; empower all who want to share what they know to find those who want to learn it from them; and, finally, furnish all who want to present an issue to the public with the opportunity to make their challenge known.

Illich proposes a system of self-directed education in fluid and informal arrangements, which he describes as “educational webs which heighten the opportunity for each one to transform each moment of his living into one of learning, sharing, and caring.”




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