Throughout virtually the whole of the modern educational system there now exists one powerful and impressive form of super-tribal initiation ceremony, which goes under the revealing name of ‘examinations.’ These are conducted in the heavy atmosphere of high ritual, with the pupils cut off from all outside assistance. Just as in the tribal ritual, no one can help them. They must suffer on their own. At all other times in their lives they can make use of books of reference, or discussions over difficult points, when they are applying their intelligence to a problem, but not during the private rituals of the dreaded examinations.

The ordeal is further intensified by setting a strict time limit and by crowding all the different examinations together in the short space of a few days or weeks. The overall effect of these measures is to create a considerable amount of mental torment, again recalling the mood of the more primitive initiation ceremonies of simple tribes.

Desmond Morris, The Human Zoo