Revolution in Education: The Why & The What

The first item on our 2030 mandate concerns education. This signifies the importance we’ve placed upon education in our overarching agenda. In this article, I am going to touch upon why we’re offering this importance to education, the nature of education as it is today, the need for a fundamental remodelling of education and the broad points of what it should become.

Present Day Reality

Today education means schools filled with teachers and students. It means individuals being prepared for consumption by the structures of society — the companies, the government, the economy, etc. It means the conversion of unbridled human potential into useful economic output. It means the piece of paper that you hold in your hand that asserts, through the credibility of the institution that offered it, that you are fit for consumption by units of the economy. In brief, this is what education has been reduced to — A certification enterprise that neatly categorises human beings into various classes of inputs for the economy to then feed upon efficiently.

The purpose of education seems to be to turn everyone into useful spare parts for the economic engine.

We have in our hands a system of education that is highly optimized, but only to serve the needs of the industrial era in which it is conceptually rooted.

Why Redefine Education? Why Now?

The education systems we have today are like massive factories consuming massive amounts of human potential to produce something that is mildly significant and even less interesting.

The possibility of redefining this structure to make something significant out of our potential as human beings is not just a worthy outcome to work towards, but a necessity that cannot be ignored.

Today, as human beings, we are the most impactful force on the planet. The gravest threats and challenges we face in the world are either human-generated or human-related. The most potent solutions to those threats and challenges are also in our hands.

To transform the world for the better depends solely on whether we’re able to transform the people of this world for the better. And we cannot do that without addressing education.

Purpose of Education on a High Level

Thus far, the focus of education has solely been on honing the objective aspects of the individual — their ability to impact the world around them, their ability to compete with others on measurable aspects, etc. What has been neglected are the subjective aspects of individuals — their ability to conduct themselves the way they intend to, their ability to fulfil themselves, etc. What education needs to ensure is that individuals find growth in both the subjective and the objective, because it is at the intersection of these two domains that life happens.

The redefined purpose can no longer focus just on turning individuals into inanimate fuel oriented towards fulfilling the structures of the world. Education must instead lead to individuals being able to fulfil themselves. This slight shift in the purpose should not be underestimated. The difference between someone who is oriented towards fulfilling the world around them and someone who is striving to be better at fulfilling themselves is the difference between someone who is progressing in efficiency and someone who is progressing in independence. The difference is subtle but the implications are incomparable.

The overall goal of education should be to move individuals from ignorance, longing, and dependence; to realisation, fulfilment, and independence.

Some Broad Goals

The following is an incomplete list of some goals to guide the redefinition of the educational infrastructure:-

  1. It must enable self-fulfilment. Before being able to fulfil the needs of someone else, let alone the world at large, one first needs to be able to fulfil themselves. Eventually, one’s ability to fulfil themselves will spill over to others around them as they undergo expansion in their identity. But the important thing to ensure is that their ability to fulfil themselves is consolidated so that they can become independent.
  2. It must be open-ended. Education can no longer mean schools filled with teachers and students with predetermined goals and paths. Instead, it must mean a congregation of learners who come together to enable each others’ growth out of their own will. The direction and extent of their growth must be decided in their own terms according to their own needs. The infrastructure must ensure that they are exposed to the possibilities, but the choice must arise from within them.
  3. It must inculcate initiative. Rather than have individuals sit in classrooms as passive receptacles, it must nurture and support them to take initiative. Instead of having individuals gather knowledge without being aware of its purpose, the prospect of successfully executing their initiatives must drive the process of gathering knowledge, experience, and exposure. Eventually, the individual must evolve in their ability to initiate and execute successfully. And that can only happen through the iterative practice of initiative and execution.
  4. It must focus on process rather than content. What we learn keeps changing. But the way we learn will remain so as long as we remain to be the way we are. Education must focus on the refinement of the process of learning rather than on moderating the content of learning. It must be optimised to enable as many people as possible to learn as much as they want.
  5. It must nurture constructive self-expression. The most important aspect is for all this learning and growth to be invested in constructive self-expression. While it may not be possible to enforce this, individuals must certainly be guided towards this.

While these goals are neither comprehensive nor explicit enough to offer clarity on the nature of this redefined educational infrastructure, it sheds some light on what is important. The “how”, “when”, “where” and other details of this redefinition are yet to take shape, and will happen with time…

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