College used to be for the super smart. The gifted geniuses. Now college is for anyone who can put their name on a form. The educational system has adapted to the general public, as opposed to the general public adapting to the educational system. The system of ‘education’ has become obsolete in the past few years. Not only does it provide a false sense of ‘education’ but in a lot of cases, it actually hinders the growth of students. A student will spend a number of years being spoon-fed information that they probably don’t even need for the career they want, so that they can get certain grades in an exam that will reward them with a certain degree, that will prove to employers that they are now ‘qualified’ to work a certain job. But those now qualified workers have absolutely no idea how to cope with being outside of the educational system.
We spend 18-20 years in the educational system, jumping through the same hoops with the promise of a fulfilling life. We have become so dependant on a system to provide a good living for us, and due to the fact that we are dependant on a third party, we never learn to become dependant on ourselves.
Everyone has a smartphone, and everyone in the future will also have a smartphone or smartwatch or whatever next piece of tech that takes the world by storm. Smartphones have essentially made a lot of the school syllabus obsolete. Why would we need mathematics if we have calculators in our pockets? If someone wants to go down the route of becoming a mathematician they should be free to do so, but the average person has no desire to be the next Nash. Also by putting highly intelligent people in a class of mathematics with the average Joe, they will be held back from their potential as they will have to wait for everyone who is struggling. What job, in today’s technological society, actually requires calculus? …..(crickets)
Why would students need to learn off geological facts and names and learn off Shakespeare quotes when they could just ask Google, who lives in their pockets and even on their wrists. I just searched ‘Shakespeare’ and Google gave me 173 million results in 0.63 seconds. That’s infinitely faster than any teacher or textbook. Now you might be saying; “Well what if they don’t have their phones on them at the time?”. What kind of world do you think we will be living in, in 20 years? Even 10 years for that matter? We are moving towards a society where technology and biology will come together in harmony. What impact that will have on culture and nature, I have no idea, but it would be foolish to think that this isn’t going to occur.
I understand, however, that it is attractive for parents to think of their children being able to quote Shakespeare and know basic maths, but I think we need to focus on what is practical, as opposed to ‘Well it would be nice if…’. This is the generation of tomorrow we are talking about, it would be selfish of us to force children into learning something for our personal benefit. Imagine forcing your child to earn something, so that you can show them off, like a trophy, to your friends.
The educational system is very far behind technology. We need to set up a system that can adapt to the rapid technological growth that we are experiencing and will most likely continue to experience. That system, I believe, should not involve any sort of memorisation, and should allow students the freedom to go down whatever route they choose. Not that the current system doesn’t allow that, but certain subjects are mandatory for every student, subjects that most will not be interested in. The new system should also abandon exams. Studies done in Australia have shown that students in non-exam environments retained more information than those in exam environments. Exams cause stress and performance anxiety, and although most adults can overcome those emotions, a developing student cannot.
It is said that whatever children are exposed to at a young age, they tend to pursue later in life. In this case, it is imperative that we do not force any child to study certain subjects. The new system should teach children life lessons until they are old enough to have an idea of what they like to study. Children should be taught how to think critically and without dogma. They should be taught how to figure out what they like without worrying about what others think about what they like. It goes without saying that children should also be taught how to think positively. The human mind is much more effective at curing depression than pharmaceutical drugs.
The educational system should also not restrain students to certain subjects for years on end. They should have the freedom to change their studies on a yearly basis. The developing mind changes interests very rapidly, hence the reason why teenagers go through so many phases. As a result of this, a student who is adamant to study physics today may not be interested in it at all in a years time.
Most importantly, this new system NEEDS to incorporate psychology. We need to teach the new generations what causes them to think in certain ways and why they behave the way they do in certain situations. People need to be able to catch themselves acting on their instincts and emotions because otherwise, we get the radicalism and mania that we see in today’s society.
I firmly believe that most of the major problems that we face in today are a result of an inadequate education. Radicalism, mass shootings, drug epidemics (pharmaceutical), obesity, depression and the worldwide addiction to instantly gratifying social platforms. Something is very obviously wrong, and I don’t think that the solution is very simple. I do think, however, that a new system of education is certainly a step in the right direction.
The world is changing at a crazy pace, and we, with great failure, have constantly been trying to keep up. We need to construct flexible systems that can adapt and flow with the change. It’s about high time that we moved away from the old way of doing things and adopted the modern approach. We as a species, in the year 2018, are the most educated humans that have ever walked on the planet. We know more about our world and the universe around us than any other species before us. If the generation of tomorrow is to be the future scientist, discovery makers, innovators and thinkers, we need to get up a better system of education. A system that prioritises the individual rather than the collective. A system that encourages creativity and free thought rather than the oppressive nature that we see in today’s system.
P.S This is something that I intend on refining and improving in future as I do more research and put more thought into finding a practical solution.