Like Water: Indescribable, Irreplaceable
Education is sure to have a positive effect on a person, yet we cannot describe its specifi working mechanism. Despite this, the time that is viewed as necessary for getting a good general education has kept on increasing over the centuries and decades. Maybe it has even become too long. Enthusiasts of different filds have each promoted their own discipline, which has continued to make the curricula longer and more detailed in content.
The society has started to fetishise the marks given at schools. Schools are ranked according to the results of state exams, and this has come to be viewed as the indicator of the quality of schools. People have an unfounded belief that a position near the top of the ranking is indicative of the level of teaching in the school. In fact, schools guarantee their success in the ranking largely by preselecting students. Dividing schools into elite schools and ordinary schools damages our society. The ranking should not be published, because the public draws wrong conclusions from it. This is also connected to our ability to measure social phenomena. Some things we can measure, others not. Sadly, we only see the part that can be measured in numbers. The rest remains hidden.
An increasing number of private schools has been founded, born out of a feeling that the general education in Estonia is not living up to the expectations. The plan of the Ministry of Education to reduce support to private schools does not solve the problems. This will help to reduce the expenses, but fails to address the fundamental problems of general education.