The banking concept of education is oppressive because if the education system were helping students learn and process the information taught to them, one third of the population wouldn't practically be illiterate. Children need to be literate and learn in a non-oppressive education because students will use their literacy skills everyday. These skills will also lead to better communication, locally and nationally. Hirsch writes about this in his "Literacy and Cultural Literacy: The Decline Of Literate Knowledge." "Why is literacy so important in the modern world? Some of the reasons, like the need to fill out forms or get a good job, are so obvious that they needn't be discussed. But the chief reason is broader. The complex undertakings of modern life depend on the cooperation of many people with different specialties in different places. Where communications fail, so do the undertakings (1.4)."
The banking concept is not oppressive. You say that one third of the population is practically illiterate and that the banking concept of education does not support student"s literacy skills. Hirsch also says, "We Americans have long accepted literacy as a paramount aim of schooling, but only recently have some of us who have done research in the field begun to realize that literacy is far more than a skill and that it requires large amounts of specific information (1.2)." In the banking concept of education, the teachers are providing those necessary amounts of specific information so that the students can develop their literacy skills on their own.
Just because teachers may be providing students with information doesn"t mean that students understand it. It is vitally crucial that students be taught to comprehend what they are learning in order to be able to understand the reality around them. The banking method to education only "deposits" information into student"s minds but there can be contradictions and errors within the information. Eventually students will come to realize these contradictions, possibly through personal experience, and it will lead them to upheave against their orchestrated reality. They will come to realize that reality is a process, constantly undergoing transformation. Freire attests to this in his writing, "Those who use the banking approach, knowingly or unknowingly (for there are innumerable well-intentioned bank-clerk teachers who do not realize that they are serving only to dehumanize), fail to perceive that the deposits themselves contain contradictions about reality. But, sooner or later, these contradictions may lead formerly passive students to turn against their domestication and the attempt to domesticate reality. They may discover through existential experience that their present way of life is irreconcilable with their vocation to become fully human. They may perceive through their relations with reality that reality is really a process, undergoing constant transformation (2.7)."
You say that the banking concept of education only deposits information into students" minds and that they may not fully understand the information that they are provided with. However, when students are provided with any information in this way, they become more aware of how things around them relate to what they are taught. Hirsch states, "It is the background information, stored in their minds, that enables them to take up a newspaper and read it with an adequate level of comprehension, getting the point, grasping the implications, relating what they read to the unstated context which alone gives meaning to what they read (1.3)." In the banking concept of education, the information that the students are provided with help them to have a better understanding of other things they read. They are able to find the meaning in things that they read. Whether information is being retained at the moment or not we as humans have the ability to store knowledge they we may not need to know at the time for the future.
You claim that in the banking concept of education, information the students are provided with eventually can be used at a later date. But this isn"t necessarily true. In fact how can one expect students to flourish in any comprehensive or communication structured job market, when they are taught is to memorize information and hurl it back on command? Freire acknowledges this problem and states that, "The banking concept (with its tendency to dichotomize everything) distinguishes two stages in the action of the educator. During the first, he cognizes a cognizable object while he prepares his lessons in his study or his laboratory; during the second, he expounds to his students about that object. The students are not called upon to know, but to memorize the contents narrated by the teacher. Nor do the students practice any act of cognition, since the object towards which that act should be directed is the property of the teacher rather than a medium evoking the critical reflection of both teacher and students (5.2)."
The banking concept of education is not oppressive because it is something that has been previously used in the past and has been used for generations on generations and has worked. Just because the literacy count is down does not mean that there is necessarily something wrong with the system of banking education. The banking form of education simply allows teachers to give students the information that they might need later in life. From Freire, it is in fact not the educator"s role to teach students how to critically process information because this is a process that they can only learn on there own. In fact, Hirsch writes that "To withhold traditional culture from the school curriculum, and therefore from students, in the name of progressive ideas is in fact an unprogressive action that helps preserve the political and economic status quo (9.4)."