According to Paulo Freire, what purpose does education as it is structured today serve?
The Brazilian pedagogue Paulo Freire began to challenge his country's educational system in the late 1950s when he started to work for the Department of Education and Culture of the state of Pernambuco. Freire thought that the system was structured to preserve the status quo and the existing social order, thus keeping the lower urban and peasant classes to the margins of society. Education is
an instrument which is used to facilitate integration of the younger generation into the logic of the present system and bring about conformity.
He argued that for the pupils coming from these social realities school had no meaning as the standard school texts tended to reproduce bourgeois values which had no meanings for them. On the contrary, Freire argued for an educational system that creates meaningful contexts in which pupils can relate to and learn. He claimed that education should be "the practice of freedom", making individuals capable to look critically at their workd and enabling them to change it. Freire's most influential work is Pedagogy of the Oppressed (1970), whose translation caused controversy in many Western countries for its advocacy of a Marxist framework.