C.S. Lewis on Education Versus Vocational Training

C. S. Lewis sounds this warning in a 1939 essay recently collected and published in Image and Imagination: Essays and Reviews by C. S. Lewis (page 22):

Education is essentially for freemen and vocational training for slaves. That is how they were distributed in the old unequal societies; the poor man’s son was apprenticed to a trade, the rich man’s son went to Eton and Oxford and then made the grand tour. When societies become, in effort if not in achievement, egalitarian, we are presented with a difficulty.

To give every one education and to give no one vocational training is impossible, for electricians and surgeons we must have and they must be trained. Our ideal must be to find time for both education and training: our danger is that equality may mean training for all and education for none — that every one will learn commercial French instead of Latin, book-keeping instead of geometry, and ‘knowledge of the world we live in’ instead of great literature.

It is against this danger that schoolmasters have to fight, for if education is beaten by training, civilization dies.

That is a thing very likely to happen.