In my previous blog I spoke of the need to change our outdated education system into one that creates people that are enthused about learning and who will dip in and out of learning all of their lives in order to adapt to the rapidly changing 21 Century.
The obvious corollary of this is how to achieve the constant learning society. The starting point has to be in the home. Over recent years, as both parents go out to work and, as electronics takes over from after-school care, education has been deemed the responsibility of the State! This is interesting given that in the average school year a child spends 7800 hours at home and only 900 in the classroom!
It has long been known that children need a vocabulary of around 2500 words before they are ready to read. Children gain this from talking with those around them through sharing experiences at home and outdoors. Baby minding is no substitute for parental interaction.
The desire to explore also comes well before school starts. This means that simple tasks such as cake making, climbing trees, paddling in puddles and making cards and presents (however garish) are much more valuable than enormous amounts of money spent on expensive theme parks.
Once they start formal education then this system needs to change. Questions need to be asked as to why children of the same age are in the same class rather than children with the same ability. We need to ask why all children have to do 6 periods of mathematics but often none in the creative subjects.
We have to ask why academically gifted children cannot be creative as well and vice versa. Remember, stereotyping people says more about you and than about the person you are stereotyping.
We have to stop thinking that if children take a break from education they are wasting their opportunity. That idea is based on the arrogance of adults who believe they know best. If that is true, how come the adults didn’t stop the financial crisis?
We need to recognise that a degree is not the top of the learning ladder and that, in today’s world. it does not unlock the box to untold riches or even a decent job. We want people that will go on learning throughout their lives and not stop because they have a degree scroll in their hands.
Yes we need students to do research. But we need people researching for the benefit on the people around them and not as a way of staying a permanent student. The affirmation of a PhD (presently known as permanent head damage!) should not be the papers published or the final thesis that wedges doors open in the university library, but the benefit to mankind.