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By Sam Harris

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For them such a democracy was an end in itself. The last thing that they wanted was to have to listen to egalitarian fantasies from young students hardly out of their teens. However, given the role these students had played in overthrowing the military, they could not be completely ignored. The new Government proceeded to neutralize my student activist friends by placing them on pedestals and massaging their egos, whilst it quietly consolidated its control of all the instruments of state power, and only later began quietly to rein in, and in some cases kill, the most extreme of the activists.

In Ghana the illustrations were of Chinese looking children in a specially commissioned set of primary texts, in Nigeria pirated picture perfect copies of British text books were sold at one quarter the price of the originals, and in Thailand back street 46 ALL IN THE CAUSE OF DUTY presses were producing textbooks at half the price of the Government printer. Many of the Francophone Ministers of Education have been ‘bought’ by French school book publishers. Books are so valuable that container loads of books purchased for free distribution in Chad have turned up in the markets of Benin, several thousand kilometres away.

We put our children in the care of the teacher for a good part of the year. 44 ALL IN THE CAUSE OF DUTY We expect our children will be cared for in school, and will also learn something at the same time. We do not expect that they will be abused in school, either by the teacher or by the other students. All research shows that the quality and effectiveness of the learning process is more dependent on the teacher than anything else. As in every profession, there are many skilled and motivated teachers, but also others who are not concerned whether the children learn anything or not.

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An Atheist Manifesto by Sam Harris


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