The decline of the modern paradigm in education

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The education system is widely perceived to be functioning poorly, and this paper argues that there is in fact a deep crisis caused by the gap between the system and the changing world that surrounds it. "Post-modern" conditions stress the production of information rather than the productivity of land or capital, and a relativistic world-view rather than adherence to a fixed religion or ideology, which in turn gives rise to pluralism and shifting social frameworks. At the same time, the pursuit of Truth is no longer seen as the highest goal in life, and the possession of proof of education is no longer a guarantee of access to the "Good Life". Educational institutions are dysfunctional because they remain wedded to outmoded parameters in their aims, activities, structures, methods and perceptions of their clientele. Through a wide-ranging review of recent conceptual debate and assessment of social trends, the paper explores the implications of radical contemporary changes in the parameters: the search for a new paradigm of education has only just begun.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)421-443
Number of pages23
JournalInternational Review of Education
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 Jan 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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