Thursday, March 1, 2012

What's education for..?

So read an interesting and thought-provoking article on Education :

Of course, looking at blog numbers I realise that precious few will actually read through this article so I've cherry-picked a few interesting points:
'Large-scale education was not developed to motivate kids or to create scholars. It
was invented to churn out adults who worked well within the system'

What's school for?
To create a society that’s culturally coordinated.

To further science and knowledge and pursue information for its own sake:-
 We spend a fortune teaching trigonometry to kids who don’t understand it, won’t use it, and will spend no more of their lives studying math. We invest thousands of hours exposing millions of students to fiction and literature, but end up training most of them to never again read for fun (one study found that 58 percent of all Americans never read for pleasure after they graduate from school). As soon as we associate reading a book with taking a test, we've missed the point.

To enhance civilization while giving people the tools to make informed decisions:-

Even though just about everyone in the West has been through years of compulsory schooling, we see ever more belief in unfounded theories, bad financial decisions, and poor community and family planning. People’s connection with science and the arts is tenuous at best, and the financial acumen of the typical consumer is pitiful. If the goal was to raise the standards for rational thought, skeptical investigation, and useful decision making, we’ve failed for most of our citizens. (interesting documentary:

To train people to become productive workers- this one is the most accomplished goal I think!

'At the heart of Horace Mann’s push for public schooling for all was a simple
notion: we build a better society when our peers are educated. Democracy was
pretty new, and the notion of putting that much power into the hands of the
uneducated masses was frightening enough to lead to the push for universal
Being surrounded by educated people makes democracy stronger, and it benefits
our entire society. In the words of John Dewey, “Democracy cannot flourish
where the chief influences in selecting subject matter of instruction are utilitarian
ends narrowly conceived for the masses, and, for the higher education of the few,
the traditions of a specialized cultivated class. The notion that the "essentials" of elementary education are the three R's mechanically treated, is based upon ignorance of the essentials needed for realization of democratic ideals."'

'In 1914, a professor in Kansas invented the multiple-choice test. Yes, it’s less
than a hundred years old.
There was an emergency on. World War I was ramping up, hundreds of thousands of new immigrants needed to be processed and educated, and factories were hungry for workers. The government had just made two years of high school mandatory, and we needed a temporary, high-efficiency way to sort students and quickly assign them to appropriate slots.
In the words of Professor Kelly, “This is a test of lower order thinking for the lower orders." '

'the Internet is the most efficient and powerful information delivery system ever developed.'

'Will the next generation know more facts than we do, or will it be equipped to connect with data, and turn that data into information and leadership and progress?'

So this is only a quick skim through 1/4 of the article - too bad not many people would be bothered to read it!

So my thoughts about the relevance to Guyana-- we have aggressive people waving degrees and demanding highly-paying jobs but refusing to tackle problems. We have semi-illiterate youngsters highly confident, tech- and dress-savvy but unable to use their initiative (so ok this may just be a peculiarity of my age). We have drivers with no concept of politeness on the road, transferring their innate aggression to the roadways. We have disgruntled workers who are acutely aware that they are not earning a living wage but not seeing that the large-scale stealing will cripple any expansion... sigh-- the list could go on.

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