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In this episode we will complete our quick tour of education in the Ancient World by looking at what went on in Ancient Rome. As we have seen in our brief foray into the ancient world, early civilizations relied on a knowledge currency that centered on the ability to record information – writing, and use that information to organize society and find out how the world worked. By the time we got to the Ancient Greeks, we began to see how this knowledge currency could be leveraged to encourage people to be productive citizens and future leaders, as in the Athenian systems, or to train citizens to be good soldiers and fulfil their duty to the state, as in the Ancient Spartan system. We also saw examples in both Athens and Ancient China of how encouraging young people to ask questions and think critically was sometimes thought of as dangerous and unpatriotic, as it might lead to younger generations wanting to change things. It’s amazing how this struggle between those that want to use education as a tool for progress and change, versus those that want to use education to preserve the status quo, has continued over the centuries.
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