I live and work in a country that is absolutely failing it’s students. I regularly see teachers ignore, scream at, and harshly punish their students. As you’d expect, the result is a loss of student interest in learning and school. Yet the test scores are internationally recognized as ‘very good.’ Of course test scores aren’t most important in education, but in a modern world that values these numbers, how do we make a great education system? What makes an education system good, and furthermore, what makes it bad?
Great education system, as I can imagine should :
Respect all forms of Knowledge
A great education system should treat and nurture all forms of knowledge. It is almost unbearable for me to see schools organizing weekly data-science workshops without a single dance performance in year. The level of respect we give to science and maths, is rarely given to history or music. It is not about preservation of different disciplines – educational systems need to have their own purpose and place in the ecosystem. Their role should move beyond skill generation and bolstering employment. High-handedness of commercial dimensions should be minimum, or absent if possible.
Focus on improving learning processes
Why few sectors grow and explode beyond imagination, and education lurks in the bottom without its own version of revolution. Over decades we have treated education as a bureaucratic, infra-structural or political problem. We have rarely seen it as a technical problem. Imagine the time you took to learn bicycle, had that time been equal to time you take to learn high-school mathematics, won’t that be great ?
With new disciplines like cognitive science, neuroscience and AI marching forward, we might see some of that turn into reality.
Make Learning an experience
Learning processes are by design painful for the common mass. In fact, it has historically been associated with struggle and oppression. Reminds me of the Pink Floyd’s – “We don’t need no education.” We, the common mass do not like the education as it is given. Why can’t learning be fun ?, after all, a lot of things that we learn, like cricket, football etc. come with a lot of fun. Making learning really interesting is a mark of great education system.
We live in a modern world where knowledge is excessively centralized. We would know how our nation was created, but won’t know how is our town a part of that nation. We would know names of the planets, but not of the crops that grow in local region.
Only handful examples of decentralized education exist in the world today. A centralized system makes students a subject of ideas and vision of people in power, which I think denies freedom at a very early age.
It also leads to extinction of local knowledge. And without surprise or shame I would say, that is a loss.
Your comments and suggestions are welcome
By Kriteesh Parashar: Educational Specialist
(Member of Mindspark Development Team)