UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The justification of compulsory education Case, Roland


Proponents of compulsory education have a responsibility to justify infringing upon, what is argued to be, children's basic right to liberty. This thesis is an attempt to spell out the criteria for and provide a description, of a justified compulsory education. The preliminary stage in this vindication of compulsory education is an articulation and defense of the necessary and sufficient conditions, for the moral justification of interference in general. The rationale for this approach is simple. Prior to tackling the derivative issues of compulsory schooling and compulsory curriculae, it is well advised to first sort out the grounds upon which any and all compulsion is justifiable. Coming to an understanding about, this fundamental issue helps to: untangle, if not substantially resolve, the educational polemics. The justification then turns directly to current educational theory. The liberal arts curriculum, as the prevailing emphasis in the existing educational system, is reviewed critically in light of these criteria. The liberal arts ideals, although commendable, are shown to exceed what is permissible to require in a mandatory curriculum. An account of a new, 'liberal', curriculum which fulfills the criteria for moral justification is presented. As well,, the constituent objectives and areas of study of this curriculum are defended as being legitimate educational pursuits. In other words, this new, liberal curriculum is shown to be both consistent with the grounds for the justification of compulsory education and compatible with the ideals of a liberal arts education.

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