Relearning education

Overhauling education for a very different future

Education systems – which inevitably have delays of up to a few decades built into them – must urgently reform to prepare pupils for an almost-unrecognizable future


Media will play another crucial role in how the Holistic Perspective plays out – it will help large numbers achieve such a viewpoint. But that process is not restricted to the News Media or to New Media. In many countries, for example, some of the most effective ways of communicating ideas on family planning or HIV have turned out to be Soap Operas. Even ‘pure entertainment’ is useful in educating a general population to think broader and longer-term.

That is itself a component of a far-more-fundamental realignment that is needed of Education generally. Unfortunately, although Education is one of the most powerful potential levers for sustained change across the international community, education-processes overall are in fact extremely difficult to adapt. The trouble with attempting to transform society by using the formal education system is that, in every country, the ways that youngsters are groomed for the future tends itself to be one of the most deeply-established – and therefore difficult to change – aspects of a culture. A child’s learning is impacted by many different factors. Whether for example it is an Islamic madrasah, a Roman-Catholic convent, or a Beverly-Hills High School, every education system has at its core the accumulated body of knowledge that educators select to pass on. And that selection alone has an extraordinary impact. But almost as influential are the means by which learning is transferred, and the skills and background of those responsible for the teaching – as well as how all that fits with what children learn from family-members, friends, the TV and (above all these days) electronic-games and the internet.

Within this Complex-and-Interconnected context, governments must urgently reform their education systems to prepare children for the globally-integrated High-Tech world that is around the corner. And educators themselves need to be aggressive in circumventing the overly-traditional approaches often still adopted in classrooms everywhere from Nursery Schools to Business Schools. Even students (even young children) posting educational games on the internet would be more relevant and effective than some of the current educational approaches, which are little more than relatively-superficial upgrades to a talk-and-chalk approach inherited from the Victorians.

Just as importantly, universities must face up to the implications of all prior knowledge soon being almost-instantly available on-line. PhD students must learn how to track down obscure insights from other institution’s electronic archives and work effectively in a virtual global-research community. Medical trainers must decide what the future skills of a GP need to be – given that the internet often already provides patients with more detailed insight into their illness and treatment than any family doctor can remember or keep up-to-date with. Exponential trends are set fundamentally to transform the world over the next few decades. The graduates and trainees that will enter the radically-altered jobs market then, are today just entering the education system. Yet – despite the sometimes-inspiring dedication of their teachers – almost everything about that system was designed in the past, it is educating pupils using techniques from the past, and it is preparing them for a future that by the time they reach it will already feel like the distant past.