In his inaugural lecture at the Sorbonne in 1902, Emile Durkheim (1956: 126) described compulsory schooling as ‘an initiation ceremony’ that makes of the initiate ‘an entirely new man’, ‘a man and a citizen’. Since Durkheim’s time, this ‘extended initiation rite’, as John Boli (1989: 221) formulated it, has developed into a fundamental societal institution promising to transform children ‘into modern individuals, capable of rational calculation, self-discipline, political astuteness, and religious righteousness required to make the national policy both successful and just’. Mass schooling has become the main gateway to fully authorized citizenship throughout the world.