Oflate, a new documentary on education system is making lot of waves in the USA. Its call Most Likely to Succeed. (You can watch trailer)
It takes a very narrow view of school education. The documentary is in the context of new education system being propagated by Tech Elite, where medium of instruction is thru Project based, group working methodology. The emphasis of using information technology as pivot for schooling system.
We know that our education system was built 100 years back at the height of industrial revolution. The object was to prepare qualified clerks to take up the vast jobs created by factories and administrative work. Over a period of time, our system has become instruction based, and a rot system. The objective is not learn but to cram as much as information possible with an objective to score good marks. For all parents of 21st Century, it baffles the way, kids are taught, it also prompts us to vent our frustration about not doing anything to change it. On one hand, even Bill Gates want every kid to learn, How to Code? and on there hand, still, our examination system mandates kids to remember lot of facts, that can easily be retrieved by googling.
So, in a sense, the kids should know where to find information, and should not remember the information. Some time, we wonder does it make any sense to learn languages, or is education useful in life.
On the far end of the pendulum, you have IB schools, focusing more on the project based learning. If you have watched the trailer or studied the Website, you will find idea very fascinating. Unfortunately, it will be long time before we can get opportunity to watch it in India. If you want a different perspective, watch TED talk by Ken Robinson (one of the most watch TED Talk) you will get a different sense on education.
In the information age, where Artificial Intelligence is taking over various small jobs including something like legal research or data analytics by small bots, certainly, the skills that may be required in coming days would be far more different than what is been taught now.
So, we should junk the old system and focus on education should be reduced, as we all know, how stressed our children are; unfortunately answer is not in affirmative. Why?
Because, What is the final essence of education?
Information to Knowledge to Wisdom.
The basis of all knowledge is information. Yes some rudimentary information can be retrieved using googling, if its not repetitive. Like finding the specific dates, some event happened in history but what if, you have to use computer, every time to convert Kilometres to Meters or even worse, to calculate 19X14. In essence, we must know the basic tool kit of information in real life, else you can’t take knowledge based decision. Think of making a decision based on marginal cost of an item or computing discounted value of a thing. The information, thus turns into knowledge, a basis for taking day to day decision. Mostly, all of our working hours or even daily life decision are taken alone and not in groups, ergo, life is not a project, though we learn a lot from working in a group, but that limited to certain degree of learning and should not be the basis of life learning.
Finally, Wisdom, how to achieve proverbial wit and wisdom. Computers are smart at processing information. They have no knowledge, may be super computers yes, but can it apply Wisdom. For a human being, wisdom comes from knowing the ones limitation and ability to look at things from multiple perspective, without being subjective. Ability to learn pattern from complex scenario, identifying the solution to social/economical/emotional problems by tool kit of understanding life. All these can only come from knowledge in true sense. A knowledge not only acquired from information but from experiences in life. Even a person who is 7th pass can have much more wisdom, than a Phd.
I am not saying education system is perfect or no changes are required, however, adopting new way of thinking blind side us with obvious requirements of a normal life. As for soft skills, the lessons of handwork, perseverance, resilience, problem solving etc are all learned by the exam based education system. The sad part is kids carry the burden of our expectation. And thats where we get answer, use our own Wisdom, get out of rat race, and keep expectation from schools, educators, system at very realistic level and finally lower our own expectation.