I will state up front that I do not have children. However, 90% of my friends, colleagues and family I regularly interact with do and I am sometimes called into schools to ‘inspire’ their pupils. I therefore feel I have an opinion albeit one from an outsiders point of view. But perhaps the fact I am not directly involved gives me a certain clarity?
What am I talking about?
Our broken, beyond repair education system that seriously needs to be humanely put down.
We need an education revolution. Why?
It appears to me that today’s education system is nothing more than a conveyor belt. We put children on to the start of this belt and they trundle through a system which blasts creativity out of them, frowns on individuality and squeezes them into uniform moulds that, when tipped out at the end, gives us a facsimile of what we think to be the perfect worker. Foot soldiers for the wheezing, greedy, archaic market based economy.
Think about it. The system we mainly use today was developed in the 1880s during the time of the Industrial Revolution and, despite numerous attempts since then to tinker with the system, is to all intents and purposes much the same. There is nothing I own, have or possess that dates that far back and, if it did, I certainly would not be expecting it to still be working today. Why educate for a past age when we don’t even know what the world will look like in five years? We need an education revolution at a fundamental level if our children and grandchildren have any hope of managing the changes ahead.
A great video that explains the birth of public education is a talk by Sir Ken Robinson with an awesome animation that goes with it.
An education revolution to save our mental health
Because of the rigid structure the education system is based upon it is also woefully incapable of dealing with modern day problems and dilemmas. The internet age appears to have led to the emergence of more mental issues and anguish than ever before which, again, education is not designed to handle or to cope with.
It is all very well the government bringing in things like CAHMs to try and tackle the escalating problems within the minds of children but, when they are poorly funded, improperly structured with little (if any) direction how is it supposed to succeed? Systems such as these are merely Band-Aids and not solutions. In any case surely prevention is better than cure?
However the answers should not be sought from government dictates alone. We have a collective responsibility towards our future generations (hence why I am writing this).
We need to dispassionately look at the education system to see it for what it is and consider seriously how it works. It needs dismantling, rescuing the good bits and then re-forming into something that will encourage, stimulate and excite the children. They need to be enthused, guided not taught, helped not hindered. They themselves should have an input into what any new system might feel like, after all it is, they who will spend their time in it.
Rigid rote learning pathways should be abandoned, streams got rid of, IQ measurements thrown out of the window. Flexibility, creativity and individualism should become the new pillars of education and each child should be followed by the system in a supportive, flexing style that allows them to find their own levels and capabilities and achieve what they want to achieve, not what we decide for them. That would be a true education revolution.
And before anyone says ‘lovely idea, simply not possible’; I would retort of course it is. We have the means, we have the wherewithal, we simply need to find the will.