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- On education and its challenges
Posted by : Martí JM dimecres, 22 d’abril de 2015
“I don’t think there’s a kid in America, or anywhere in the world, who gets out of bed in the morning wondering what they can do to raise their state’s reading standards. They get out of bed, if they’re motivated, by their own interests and their own development.”
Education must enable individuals to develop their potential, gain knowledge and enhance personal quality as citizens that will constitute the society of the future. Education is not only about preparing qualified professionals for industry. It has a much more far-reaching mission of giving everyone, regardless of social origin equitable opportunities for personal, cultural, social and professional development. But I would like to remark the idea that equity does not mean uniformity or massification (which is what happens here in Spain). Equity does not mean lowering our expectations and academic standards. We do not want schools to be like a huge monolithic flock of sheep. Quite the contrary. Our objective should be establishing a multifarious education, with a diversified curriculum adapted to the diversity of aptitudes, skills, passions, necessities, methodologies… A school able to educate multi-talented students with a holistic, integrative formation, able to work in the real world, a world which is highly interdisciplinary. In real life, scientists, engineers, designers and economists work together hand in hand to find solutions to real problems. The program Moebio is a dazzling example.
As Ken Robinson claims, we ought to abandon the idea of the alienating factory schools with the ringing bells, the assembly line workers and the compartmentalized disciplines, the strict division between social sciences and natural sciences.
The MOOCs are a perfect example of how higher education is going to be reinvented, no matter if traditional universities want it or not. While they continue abdicating their purpose, that is being a place for the communication and circulation of thought, and become a petrified, overstretched, expensive model of higher education, new tools are more likely to prosper than expire. After all, their value consists in putting students in control.
I do want excellent, hard-working, students, but above all, passionate, enthusiastic, inspired and inspiring students. Our ultimate goal must be seeing smiley faces on a Monday morning. Education should never lose sight of what really matters, which are the students and the problem they are facing today: boredom, routine, lethargy, monotony.
As the rate of change continues to accelerate, rethinking education is not a romantic fantasy but an essential need for the world we are now creating.
Martí Jiménez Mausbach, @MartJim7