By Ken Coates
What is the relationship between education and industry? This is a crucial question, but it is quite commonly avoided by educationalists, and particularly by educational reformers. Whenever we do meet it, it is usually to find that those asking it have subtly transformed it in order to assume an answer which is not too discomfiting either to the teaching profession or to industrialists. Of course, the question ‘what does industry need from education?’ poses quite a different set of problems to those we need to discuss. ‘How can education better serve industry?’ is the sort of conundrum that arises with every new phase of technological development: more schools, more colleges and universities must be opened to provide more scientists, more administrators and more technically qualified workpeople, we are told at intervals of about a generation. The priorities in such questions are upside down and back to front. To see things the right way up, and to begin the pursuit of education, we must ask ‘what sort of factories do our schools need?’
First published in Peter Buckman (editor), Education Without Schools, 1973
Re-published in Ken Coates, Beyond Wage Slavery, 1977.