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Education & The Curse of Conformity

I went to a military boarding school for High school. It was the 5 most memorable years of my life. However, any of the social sciences and history education that i received there did nothing but tried to conform us to certain types of ideologies and beliefs. We were taught to believe in whatever we learned in classes without questioning it. I remember, in class, a classmate of mine once expressed his grievances with the Pakistan Army (He was a Baloch and had several cousins and siblings that went ‘missing’) and as a result, was bashed not only by the students but by the teacher as well. He was socially isolated for a good few weeks because all the classmates, fallen prey to the curse of conformity, took it as a personal attack for some reason because they had always been taught the only narrative of how glorious the Pak Army was.

Conformity versus individuality of students has been a huge debate among educationists, parents and child psychologists. The conception of the modern education system, initially, came with the aim of equipping students with the necessary skills to fill the jobs in an economy to make a country more productive. This form of education is most effective when there is a fixed set of rules for those that comprise it – it guarantees an entire batch of workers able to work efficiently on the assembly line. But, as society develops, so has the system of education, which aims to meet society’s needs.

In a world where societies are becoming increasingly meritocratic, education has become less about knowledge and more about students’ achievements and grades, compelling people to avert from “the road less taken”. As a result, education restricts one’s choices, and ends up developing multiple individuals who are good at abiding by rules but lack personal voices, interests and critical thinking skills.

What are your views on our education system? Do you guys think it encourages conformity? If yes, what do you think of it? Is conformity in education a blessing or a curse? Let me know down below in the comments.

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Wonderful insights, Zain.

I totally agree that not only in boarding schools, but in schools throughout the country, conformity is rampant and desired from the students. I am glad you mentioned how students that conform can become supporters of conflict. This goes on to exhibit the dire need for a complete reform in the way we educate our children.

Education is meant to provoke thought and challenge the minds of our young children and if all we ask of them is to rote learn whatever they are told and expect them to blindly follow the system, we hinder their growth and thus, in return, deprive Pakistan from potential scientists - the true harbingers of new knowledge.


With the way our education system is structured, i agree with you that it does indeed encourage conformity by controlling the masses and "disciplining" them behave according to the status quo. Even now, people are often afraid to speak up about certain matters, especially related to the Pak Army because of how riled up people who are pro-army get. It brings to light just how important it is for us to raise young people who are able to observe, research, and form thier own opinions.

Respondendo a

Thankyou for adding on, Iqra.

I believe we need to reform our methods of teaching & content of education in a way that promotes healthy debate and where dissent is not suppressed but understood and catered to, properly.

Along with that, i also think, we as a nation lack the practice of tolerance. Tolerance for different views and beliefs. We need to educate our masses on the fruits that tolerance can bear.


From my own experience and the experiences of some of my friends, most educational institutes in Pakistan promote conformity among the students, especially when it comes to some of the more controversial political matter.

I believe that conformity helps in keeping the states ideology intact, but at the same time it does not allow the students to think critically for themselves. Being a proponent of the teaching critical thinking to students, I believe that the education system would be better off without any element of conformity in it.

Respondendo a

I think a solution to put an end to the need for conformity is a total change in curriculum. A curriculum that encourages critical thinking and asking questions. Teachers also need to not take questions personally and try to address the queries of their students without any underlying biases.

This would lead to the formation of new knowledge instead of the same thing being repeated over and over again throughout years.


As someone who too went to a military boarding instiitute, aka cadet college, for 5 years, let me just say first of all that I can totally relate and agree to all that you said. In fact, I'd be frank enough to confess that in fact I was one of those people who chose to not conform in most of our class-based discussions, mostly the ones where we were indoctrinated with certain thematic ideas. And for the longest period of my time, I have always thought that institutions like ours were an exception considering they were entirely centered around specific ideas and sentiments, which isn't the case for the majority of the schools of Pakistan.

In recent years though, since…

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