The story of our education system begins roughly 300 years ago with The British Empire. At this time The Empire has colonies scattered across the globe: India, Africa, Americas, Australia, etc…
The Empire has the great challenge of ruling over all these colonies without computers or telephones. The best technology they have to manage this are hand-written notes on pieces of paper being delivered by ship.
The Bureaucratic Administrative Machine
The Empire builds a global distributed human powered computer to solve this problem: The Bureaucratic Administrative Machine. They need many people to keep this machine running. They create another machine to produce those people: The School.
The School produces people that meet 4 basic requirements:
- They must have good handwriting (to write down the data);
- They must be able to read (to understand the data)
- They must be able to do addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division in their heads (to create and analyze the data)
- They must be identical and easily interchangeable (to be able to ship people between colonies and have them be instantly functional)
The “School Machine” from 300 Years Ago is Still Running…
The “School” system they built 300 years ago was so robust that it is still with us today. Still continually producing identical people for an empire that no longer exists.
Schools as we know them are NOT broken (as they are doing exactly what they were engineered to do) but they ARE obsolete. Today we no longer need identical people with beautiful handwriting that can multiply and divide in their heads.
So What’s Next?
What should be done to change our education system to be more aligned with current times? How should it be changed to prepare our children for the present AND the future?
I highly recommend you listen to Suguta Mitra’s TED talk about “Building a school in the cloud” for some of his ideas on the future of education.