Our education system needs to change dramatically

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Education is a human right, a basic need and the key to the future for our children. The enlightenment opened the door to what the civilized world understands as modern education, an education focused on progress and technology.

What many forget about it is the fact that our own well-being is intertwined with the development of our children. Pension systems, health care and progress, as well as the supply of food and consumer goods can only be secured by descendants. This principle has worked for generations, but especially in the Western world, we run the risk of collapsing. Declining birth rates, aging and intolerance of immigrants threaten pension systems and economic growth. Unhealthy lifestyles characterized by lack of exercise and an unhealthy diet promote the increase of “lifestyle diseases” and overuse the health service. Economic growth and the desire for more and more consumer goods promote the depletion of nature and limited resources with glaring consequences.

Education is the most sustainable way to tackle these problems. A curriculum that includes knowledge and understanding of healthy eating and a healthy lifestyle, tolerance and mutual understanding and the careful handling of our resources and the environment is crucial to securing the future of our world in the long term. Our children can relieve the current burden on healthcare, maintain pension provision through longer working lives, and substitute or replace dwindling resources with technological achievements.

The prerequisite for this is the renewal of the current education system. The technical and economic change of industrialization meant that schools were designed like industrial plants with children being handled or trained much like an assembly line with fixed class structures and spaces. Today’s education systems are past-oriented, content overloaded and characterized by passive information and knowledge memorization, as well as the periodic reproduction of it. Harmony in school life is equated with homogeneity.

However, learning is an active process. It is therefore important for children and adolescents to enjoy, foster and nurture their innate curiosity and natural creativity. It requires creating a stimulating and safe environment that allows children to develop as individuals and achieve goals in the community.

Alibaba founder and teacher, Jack Ma, summed this up with his demand at the World Economic Forum 2018 in Davos: “If we do not change the way we teach, then we will have big problems in 30 years”.

Not everyone may share this view, but as parents we all want our children to be happy and face a safe and sustainable future. The world has changed dramatically in the last 30 years. The school system has not. As parents, we need to stop comparing our experience of school with that of our children and instead encourage our children and our children’s teachers to try new things, to take risks and to not be afraid to make mistakes.

Digitization, Artificial Intelligence, Augmented and Virtual Reality open up new possibilities for us to make learning realistic, interesting and enjoyable. For the sake of our children, we need to embrace these new learning tools and trust and encourage the teachers and schools who have chosen to incorporate them into their curriculum.

See original LinkedIn Post here.


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