The ‘New’ Purpose of Education

Our current Education System is in crisis. Over the last decades we have seen a lowering of completion rates, increasing cost and a lack of preparation for employment. Simultaneously, our world is under threat by environmental changes, human conflict and inequality. If ‘Education is the Key’, we should reflect on our current system, and reframe its underlying purpose. 10 juin 2016, Paddy Jansen, MSc, MBA

Our current education system stems from the early days of the industrial revolution, when people flocked to cities causing overpopulation and chaos. By creating a compulsory education system, governments were able to organise and train the workforce required to drive the prosperity of the nation. The notion was – and still largely is – that a better (higher) educated population will lead to a more competitive economy and thus to a more prosperous economy.

We cannot Solve a Problem
by using the same kind of Thinking
we used when we Created them.
– Albert Einstein –

The world has changed, and as we enter the fourth industrial revolution, the system needs to be enlarged to the meet needs of each person, and new levels must be added to embrace the individual as well as the world we live in.

1. Economic Empowerment

The economic argument is of course still relevant, however, the knowledge and skills taught should not only address the needs and requirements of the nation-state, but should be meet the requirements of each individual. We must develop a skill-set that can adapt to an ever – and faster –  changing world, for each individual to be able to support him or herself, as well as contribute to the wellbeing of their family and the community they live in.

2. Personal Development

As we move away from educating ourselves to meet our immediate needs – food, safety, housing, community – and we move up Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, self-actualisation becomes the next step. We should develop the understanding and motivation to lead happy, healthy and meaningful lives, and to realise your the full potential as an individual, to the benefit of the community we live in.

3. Global Activism

Globalisation and technology have changed the world dramatically since the turn of the century. We are all interconnected and information can be available to everyone. In the meantime our planet and species are faced with some huge challenges: environmental changes, human conflicts and inequality. To address these issues we must develop a cultural awareness and understanding of the world around us, and to create a willingness to tackle global issues and contribute to the peace and sustainability of our society and planet.

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