AUL/popular education

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a brief report follows about the meeting on 7th nov. 06 on

what's wrong with the uni/academia under capitalism and popular education alternatives?

first, we reported to each other about who we are and why we came to participate in formal education. several people came, all of them postgrads, studying sociology/environmental stuff. people were interested in bringing their political and employment interests together with learning more.

the main discussion had two parts. we discussed how mainstream education is a problem and lateron how alternatives work/look like.

mainstream education is a problem

  • schooling is very limited to learn for exams. people often do not think beyond what is being taught.
  • education is competitive
  • in undergrad: lots of teaching about how to work for oil industry
  • little contact with supervisors
  • leaving uni programme disillusioned, pessimistic
  • under Thatcher education became more oriented at the job-market
  • institutions for education with practical interests have been cancelled (polytechniques, entrepreneurships)
  • learning to be disciplined/learnining to be passive
  • in jobs we are expected to act like robots
  • learning is cut up into pre-defined bits
  • curricula are restrictive, but some essentials might be necessary
  • people gain from education context for personal devlopment. so it is not all bad.
  • student unions seem like bureaucratic machines, not being interested in students.


  • what to do with people learning faster? skilled people should teach others, but forcing/restricting them as least as possible
  • giving people space to think together, further
  • leaving mainstream education context and do something practical instead
  • learning takes place very much in personal relationships/friendships - people learn spontanously and then talk it through with friends , in political organising contexts, in practical settings (i.e. bicycle/computer repair)