Over the last few years I have devoted a considerable amount of time to lecturing to university students in various countries and this culminated recently in a TEDx talk which is highlighted on the motivational speaking section of this website.
I find it disturbing that, although the talks resonate with the students, there are those that see me as opposed to education. They interpret my talks as meaning that education is unnecessary if one wished to be entrepreneurial.
This is particularly annoying as all of my working life has been devoted to imparting knowledge in one form or another. Even today I regard all of the work I do as trying to educate through various means and I will continue to do so until I am no longer able.
What I do believe is that the traditional forms of education do not serve the entrepreneurial requirements of the 21st Century. Education today hs barely changed since the time of the Industrial Revolution.
In sport we now take great care not to let potentially good athletes in any sport suffer from burnout. We take steps to protect them so that their competitive lifetime is extended.
We have a continuous stream of talent entering our education system that wants to learn, to speak, explore and to discover. And yet we risk burnout of them through a form of educational boot camp with never ending tests to sort out the failures by some arbitrary measurement based on when the person was born.
I have never said that people don’t need educating. What I have firmly believed is that people need to be enthused to want to educate themselves. They need to be encouraged to explore and to assimilate knowledge rather than practicing for tests.
Innovation and entrepreneurship needs knowledge in order to spark new ideas and to identify new solutions to problems. Then they need further knowledge in order to turn the ideas into reality. At the same time they need to keep searching for knowledge in order to keep up with the ever-changing demands of the fastest moving century in history.
To me the education system would serve the world much better if it concentrated on exciting and motivating young people to explore, discover and learn so that they wanted to continue learning throughout their lifetime.
Let’s stop pretending that there is a prescription for educating the soon to be 7 billion people on the planet and concentrate on enthusing them to educate themselves throughout their lives. If we can stop the burnout of sportspeople such as golfers and footballers why can’t we do that for the rest of mankind?