The century of education

Dear readers, as few as you are, I would like to share with you an idea.

Judging by it’s first 10 years, this century seems to become the century of education.

I was thinking and thinking about how to incorporate in a post this wonderful video that you will see and the bottom of the page. You can listen to it afterwards, or now. As you choose. The video is really about how to improve our education system so as to make the best of our abilities. It is inspiring and challenging because, if you think about it, it may very well totally change the face of public education as a whole and thus society, if applied.

In our country it is obvious that the most sought after education institutions are the ones who offer high positions in hierarchies, whether they are by the power of management and/or money or by a great great power, the power of expertise. By that we mean informatics, math, economy, medicine, management, architecture and so on. These are also perceived as very unlikely to learn by yourself at a professional level and people need the testimony of a piece of paper which acts as proof of your skills. As sad as I am to say this, most people think that literature, cultural anthropology or pr as something more like a hobby or a nice university to attend, but it’s hard to imagine what would a job in those fields look like (except “professor” or “librarian” or “secretary” =)) ). Not to mention dance or music! This actually happened to me. Not at all to brag in some way and I am actually happy about how things turned out, but there was a point when I had the choose between a music school, to continue on with my piano, or go to a regular school. Even at 6 years old I was led to understand that as an adult I will starve if I choose to be a musician and it was scary. I am very very honest right now and I remember vividly because many times I looked back and thought about that fact that when I was 6 and I was asked if I want to go to a music school I choose to go to a regular school because of what I had herd talking in the house and imagined a harder insecure future for myself with music and a more secure one if I choose regular “academics”. Probably my choice would have had little to do with the final result, but I still understood how “things worked”.

So, we produce infinite supplies of engineers and economists (we do need a great deal of them and the better they are the better we can live. totally!) of professors, most of all in these academic fields ….of professors who will educate us to choose the same way we have been choosing so far. I am sorry to say this, but what will happen when we are all professors and no one can actually build a house (and not design it)? Oh sure, we will make a robot that does that. I do believe someone might say this…then what will happen to our brain? Imagine we are all educated the same. We all know how to do one type of thing and make programs for the labor, for the making, for the dancing, for the music…Ideas come from different parts of the brain. If we totally shut down areas we will become static and boring and creativity could very well die.

But I see that things start to move. The arts for example, seem to me, to be as respected and appreciated as other fields. Partially because people appreciate the need for something special or different to counterbalance work and stress and maybe also because our channels of communication merge all kinds of information, we have better access to art (to be ironic, in a strange was we owe that to industrialization who made art, or some kind of it,  an accessible item which gave us a taste and gave the arts money to expand). Most of all, I believe the dissolving of the borders in the art world and the possibility of debate at a large scale, for a bigger audience made it clear that being and artist is also a skill that has levels of greatness and is as hard as math.

This discussion between arts and sciences is not new and I have talked about it here because it shows what I want to prove. We (the world) give the idea of education a lot of thought these days and I am not referring to individual education. Today you just don’t give out money and wash your hands. You make NGO’s that educate people how to be more successful, that educate teens how to choose their future studies, you educate people to recycle, you educate people how to vote, you educate people how to use new media communications, you educate people how to raise their children. Oh Lord!

Our world has become so complicated and diverse you need an education to understand this way of life.

From another side, lets take a look at the past century, 20th century, 1900-2000. The inventions are: penicillin, jet engine, atomic bomb, microwave oven, credit cards, optic fiber, www and viagra. The century of improving everything we had before 😛 (more here

Of course the 19th century was the one of industrial revolution, which the 20th sweetened with the improvements and …more democracy, thank God!

As we can see, because of inventions like the the SixthSense gestural interface (more here, the inventions now go beyond normal ways (or rather past ways) of life, suggesting a shift in thinking  (yet again). We used to make products or improvements, but now we are just making “new ways of “.  These ways are simple to understand in the case of their inventor and maybe a small group of people, but the majority will need time and help to integrate this kind of object in their lives.

Thing about ecology for example. Talking, or rather trying to talk, to people at a book fair (so not the bloody manele festival!) I found out that half have no idea what Greenpeace is and although everyone can see now the recycle bins and maybe they recycle or try to recycle, they really have no idea why or where or how it works. They also don’t get the consequences of polluting to much. That’s why there are a lot of “green” campaigns around the world.

If we look a little further, we see more and more campaigns for education about diseases, about community issues, about discrimination, about …you name it. You might think we’ve gone all mad and we have nothing else to do except make education campaigns, but the truth is, as I gave the example of recycling, people just don’t know everything or don’t think about certain issues. In order to progress we now have to work at a different level and since the person is so bombarded anyway with information about football and boobs and eat, pray, love, the campaigns about “not so wonderful” things must be pro-active and go to the people, not wait for them to search for information.

Thus, giving the complexity of things we are faced with everyday and the desire to improve our lives, the way we have now is education, in  a broad sense. Actually, through his speech, Sir Ken Robinson is teaching the education system to educate us in a different way, to make us more open minded and receptive cause we have a lot to take in, in very short periods of time.

2 Responses to “The century of education”
  1. Alexandra says:

    E o problema foarte actuala si dupa parerea mea, pentru ca s-au diversificat foarte mult metodele si sursele de invatare. Educatia devine ceva foarte amplu si holistic si nu o sa mai poata fi impartita pe niste categorii asa clare (dupa cum spune si Sir Ken Robinson cred ca intr-un alt speech de-al sau). Eu sunt un mare fan al studiului individual si al ideii de a-ti stabili singur ce si cum inveti pe baza de preferinte, de nevoi s.a.m.d. Pentru ca oricum nu le poti acoperi pe toate, asa ca de ce sa nu decizi tu incotro te duci si sa devii un om care stie lucrurile care il intereseaza si care ii plac. Discutia este foarte lunga si pasionanta dupa parerea mea. Si legat de educatie, ieri in Brighton, UK tinerii studenti au iesit sa protesteze si sa apere educatia (probabil in fata taierilor bugetare), azi dimineata o prietena din Bruxelles a postat pe FB ca cel mai important lucru pe care l-a auzit ieri la serviciu a fost ca pe masura ce economiile o iau in jos, cu atat mai mult ar trebui acordata atentie educatiei si tot asa. Deci lumea e preocupata si ce mi se pare mie mai important este ca tinerii au devenit preocupati si incep sa-si ia soarta in propriile maini (fie protestand, fie infiintand ONG-uri, fie incercand sa stabileasca o universitate alternativa in RO – vezi planurile CROS). Si ca tot am scris mult (si nu stiu cat de bine) recomand si acest grozav filmulet, tot pe baza speechurilor lui Sir Ken Robinson:

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