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Einstein’s blackboard

January 1, 2009

Why do we educate? Governments spend large portions of thier budgets educating the population in standardized mass education programs, but to what end?

There are many discussions on how we educate our children, lots of choice of the type of school, ciriculum to be taught and techniques used to teach it. However, before these questions can be answered we need to understand why we are educating our young. Whats the purpose of it?

Mass Education

Mass education began in the 19th century as a response to industrialisation. The factories needed workers educated to a certain level and the government provided that through mass, standardised education. In the 20th century this was expanded to seconday education and, finally, by the end of the century to mass university education and the mega campuses we have today. While I would argue that education has followed the needs of industry and society for an educated workforce, I believe that it is time to ask ourselves what use education is for the coming centruy.

We live in a world today where not only careers change often, but for many people the career that they end up with may not have even existed a decade ago. A perfect example of this is anyone who is involved in web design – anm industry that now fuses technology and marketing.

Mass Education is no longer relevant. In fact I am starting to think that mass production it is becoming more and more out of date.

The first thing I would argue is that mass education, particularly high school educaiton, is no longer appropriate for the needs of our workforce. The system of grammer schools and trade schools was dismantled in the late 1970s and early 1980s as part of an ideological driven campaign for ‘equality’ in education. This misguided attempt at creating a level playing field has failed miserably and it is now time to go the other direction, customised education.

By customised education I don’t mean that each student chooses their career path at the age of 12 and are thereafter stuck with their choice, but rather a more tailored approach for each child. For example children not only need to learn how to learn but also need to learn how to love learning. I’ve seen too many of my friends go through the education system and end up being stifled by it, rather than motivated.

Education also needs to be more broad based. Students need to learn philosophy, science and the history of our world. ‘Learning’ compters to me seems all a bit silly if a student can’t string a sentence together correctly or judge for themselves whether global warming is happening (it is) and what’s the best way of dealing with it.


Einstein’s blackboard
Originally uploaded by Garrettc

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