School Revisited : Thoughts on Today’s Education System

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Standardized Education has a history of 150 years.

But what is education for? Before answering that, let’s see what school used to be for.

School was about teaching obedience. It started with ‘Good Morning Ma’am’.

Standardized tests are part of the era of Industrial Age. In Industrial Age, they needed enough workers who would do what they were told and could be replaced with one another. The Universal Education System was born with intent not to create scholars of tomorrow, but to train people to work in industrial setups, to teach them to behave, to teach them to comply. Schools sat them in rows just like factories. It ‘reprocessed’ them for another year if they were ‘defective’. They used ‘textbooks’.

If you wanted to teach someone to be a cricket fan, would you make him learn the history of cricket? Where was the first match played? The top 20 run scorers in order? and so forth. And announce a test the next day? With no generation of interest in the subject being taught, obviously, the attitude they develop is to do least possible.

The world however, has moved beyond Industrial Age and needs differentiated products, and differentiated people. Leadership is needed once again at the workplace.

Things that are Interesting, things that are Artistic, things that are New, sell. We need more people to create these things today. We need more people to rethink things for today’s time and age of inter-connected people and advances in technology.

For the first time in History, we do not need a human being to teach us. We do not need a human being to lecture us on any subject because of the Internet. Because all this information is available in audio, video, text and interactive testing tools at very little cost of access and distribution. Human beings are now needed as coaches instead of lecturers.

This information is now available ad hoc, at a time of the individual’s choosing. We no longer need to teach redundant subjects for years in school, because if needed they can be accessed at time of relevance. So what should be the objectives of education now?
The emphasis needs to go beyond rote learning. The emphasis to test individuals needs to shift to teach teamwork because in real world people work in teams.

Opportunities in Online Education:

Any person interested in learning is today a customer. There is a lot of scope for building content which can be understood by local or global audience for:-

Acquiring Skills:
From machine building to machine learning. The practical know how to perform these actions can be disseminated excellently through online medium.

Acquiring knowledge:
Create refresher courses from CA to Law which can be taken by professionals or by an ordinary citizen. IT courses are there, but most other fields are can be taken up aggressively.

Academic Courses:
College lectures are delivered once long before actual exams. A simple series of lecture for college courses can helps students pass solves a real problem.

Competitive Exams:
The industry for competitive courses has resisted putting up content for fear of being redundant. From JEE to MBBS complete competitive courses in audio-visual form along with test. There is no justification of hundreds of students flocking into rooms to hear a lecture without participation.

Employability:
Training in context of target employment is hard. Presently, you work hard to get in best college, which teaches generic course you do best and hope to quality in interview for your target company.

A student learns little content actually required for your chosen profession instead he receives the same undifferentiated syllabus as everyone else. Today curriculum can be developed for specific companies or line of work. Which can leverage a students interest not only his IQ or aptitude,which should ultimately make much better employees.

Companies on the other hand struggle to find employable youth. By developing relevant educational content with collaboration with companies can make available a lot more employable candidates.

A lot the content developed for courses above can initially be distributed through YouTube which enables monetizing it. Subsequently alternative models of distribution can be looked into to better control delivery by tying with other platforms for online education.

Image Credit: www1.ccs.k12.in.us