Is Education the Solution?
Once upon a time, I believed education was the solution to most of the world’s problems. It could overcome poverty by preparing people for better paying jobs. It could solve conflicts by using knowledge and communication tools for problems solving. And education could resolve social ills such as prejudice, violent crimes, and issues of health and nutrition.
My world was simplistic. It did not take into account human factors or the 7-deadly sins. It did not allow for change resulting from innovations and paradigm shifts. It did not consider the impact of natural disasters like earthquakes, tsunamis, and hurricanes. And there was no consideration of people created problems like global warming or warfare. Half a century later I see a world in distress. It is no longer life in a small town, but how to live in a global environment. Our daily lives are impacted by global economics, politics, and war.
Education is trying to reinvent itself for a world that is ever changing. Instead of preparing us for the future, it continues to react to the needs of the present and recent past. By the time these ideas are imbedded into curriculum, they are long since obsolete .It is like the freeway that just opened that was designed for the world as it was 10 years ago.
The infrastructure and power tools exist for education and training to produce interactive multimedia rapidly at unprecedented levels. We have the design and production tools; the delivery and implementation tools, and substantially improved tools for evaluation. But even education has conflicts between its conservative base and proponents of learning technologies. We are confronted with a dichotomy when we need both to work side-by-side. We need all of our traditional and innovative resources working together to solve today’s problems. And the first problem is education itself. It must be oriented to the world we live in if it is ever to solve most of the world’s problems. It must provide tools to prepare the next generation for the world that is becoming, not the one that is past. It must address specific economic and social needs to ensure jobs, secure and healthy communities, and harmonious relationships between peoples that are different. We must learn to celebrate differences in culture, language, and color.
Is my goal for education just a dream?
|July 2006 Index|