The view that passing on a cultural inheritance to new generations is among the central purposes of education is a widespread one, not least among teachers themselves when they are asked about the significance of their own occupation. In countries with democratic forms of government, this view usually does not give rise to major political crises, although there are recurrent controversies about issues such as faith schools, multiculturalism in schooling, and the wearing of religious emblems or clothing in public schools. Most residents of democratic countries would find it repugnant, however, that schools should be used to promote a fundamentalist culture – as, for instance, the educational programme of the Taliban sought to do in Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001. There are also fears in many Western countries that the kind of learning provided in madrassas, or Islamist schools, seeks to indoctrinate students into cultural traditions that are violently sectarian.1 And, of course, many countries that are currently democratic have experienced serious conflicts in the past over education as a cultural force, or indeed as an ideological or an evangelizing force. For instance, South Africa, Spain, or the Quebec region of Canada. In general, however, disquiet over the cultural role of schooling rarely reaches crisis proportions unless schools are perceived to be promoting attitudes and actions that conflict with values that are widely accepted in the society in question.