It is widely believed that the most influential era ever to be blessed by the infinite capacities of the human brain was the Industrial Revolution. With the world revolving around the sudden purge of development, everything began to be constituted along the blueprint of the infrastructure of the Industrial Revolution. The process of standardizing all fields of life according to the industrial ways began and the education sector was no exception.
This truth of this statement lies in the fact that schools today have been modeled along the same lines as any labor-factory after the Industrial Revolution. A short comparison here between the functioning of schools and the functioning of factories might help to achieve a more vivid perspective. We start with the object (the child), being categorized according to its date of manufacture (date of birth), it is then differentiated according to batches (classes), has to go through different departments (subjects) and ultimately the final success of the product is assessed by the profit it makes (the marks the child achieves). In such a progressive-minded world, we can get away with neglecting the faulty products, but we cannot afford to neglect children who do not score highly on a standardized test. Standardized testing is an important part of a student’s life, but it is not the most important one.
A universal truth is that children are born with a tremendous set of qualities. We all believe that the possibilities of a toddler’s mind are endless and that the epitome of creativity lives inside a child’s brain. The astonishing thing to note here is that as the child progresses through the education system, his creativity starts to diminish to the bleak point where he can only comprehend the conventional solution to a situation. It is amazing to see how schools today are squandering the creativity of a child. The focus of a school nowadays is on providing a child with knowledge, not knowing that we are closing the doors of wisdom in the process. The true purpose of education is to allow students the environment through which they can find new ways. Unfortunately, we are in fact doing the exact opposite. Sir Ken Robinson, a well-known creativity expert, explained this in a very valid argument. He said, “We are not educating our children into creativity; we are educating them out of it.”
In today’s world, Finland stands out as an inspiration for the countries of the world. According to a recent study, Finnish students have topped every educational league table since 2000. The success of Finnish students can easily be attributed to its unorthodox system of teaching. Finnish schools have no uniforms, no entrance exams, no tuition fees and no league tables. No one starts school till they are 7 years old, and categorizing children into sets based on ability is illegal. It is a requirement for all teachers in Finland to have at least a Masters degree and no student gets more than 30 minutes of homework a day.
A major setback in today’s education system is the irrationality of the time frame. Ironically, children are expected to make life-defining decisions when only the week before they had to ask permission to go to the bathroom.
We often see that man is easily distracted from things which do not compliment his interests. We tend to move away from things which do not feed our passion, our spirit. The same is the case with the schools of today. Students have now become dispassionate towards school and partly, they are right in doing so. Sitting through a mind-numbing ordeal of eight hours of lectures each day will inevitably lead to the child developing an indifferent attitude towards school.
Unlike the 20th century, a professional degree in the 21st century does not guarantee employment. With the college drop-out rates increasing every year in certain countries, each nation on this planet is currently working to bring great reforms into the education sector. Undoubtedly this has led to some brilliant reforms and ideas but unfortunately all these reforms and ideas are being produced in the wrong direction. An evolution in the education sector is what the world is working on, but it is a revolution that we need. We must start anew for this new world.
The education system today is based on the principles of linearity and conformity whereas we must understand that child development is not a mechanical process, it is an organic one. We must think along the lines of agriculture, where the only thing we can do is to provide the environment for development and nurture each child according to his own special needs. We must understand that each child is a unique personality, an irreplaceable being.
The problem with the education system employed today is that it was built for a different age. Though it might have worked wonders in the past, today we live in a world with daily technological breakthroughs and in this fast-paced world, traditional education methods are becoming redundant. That is why we must free ourselves from this dogma of production-line mentality and must institute new methods of teaching.
We must change how we learn in order to preserve our futures because a world worth living in is a world worth educating oneself for.
Image courtesy of Xin Li 88