The education I believe in
When I was a boy, I didn't have much chance to choose. My parents chose what I wore, what I ate, and the school I went to. I was expected to follow certain rules, and to behave in a certain —acceptable— manner in my daily life. At school, I was expected to reach certain passing grades; else, I wouldn't have been allowed to continue.
I may understand it was necessary during those years. After all, I not only needed to learn about the subjects I was being taught. I also needed to learn some basic rules of human interaction like the principle of authority, and the common pattens of behaviour among individuals of a civilized society.
Notwithstanding, there is a point in which I believe education failed then, and is still failing today. It is the education we receive as we grow older. Governments strive for keeping standardized sets of rules for the formal education over all their jurisdictions (with the positive intention of trying to ensure a similar distribution of knowledge everywhere, for sure), but we usually forget that we are all different and that we all need to choose our own paths in life. Current education does not remind us we are free to decide, and —what's worse— it does not teach us how to make decisions. Day after day fewer parents seem to remember they need to teach this to their children too.
As a consequence, millions of kids grow with the standardized mindset they have been raised with, without —as it seems— being able to question. They finish school to go to college. They finish college in love with someone to get a job. They get married to divorce a few years after, and try to remarry with someone else in the future. They have sex, and then children. Well, you get it.
I have written about our standardized lives before. What I wonder is, with so many symptoms of lack of a comprehensive education in our modern societies, why isn't there any change in education? I believe that we have taken it for granted, and that we lack new paradigms.
Truth is that current societies try to promote an education which is "equal for all", but in the wrong way: Aiming to provide all of us with the same basic knowledge about a series of aspects of life, they restrict us from developing what we can really become as human beings.
We need a different education. We need an education that will help us discover our abilities and explore them; an education that will not try to force us into a "default" lifestyle; an education that will make us cult, not plain "data containers"; and, very importantly, we need the education that will help us question and think by ourselves (despite the fact we can always choose to hire someone else to solve our problems, if we choose to do so).
We need an education which will help us beyond of what is academic in life; an education that will help us become comprehensive human beings.
If we don't make a change soon, our children will graduate without knowing how to cook, for example, or how to sew a button. What's worse, we might see them follow useless instructions without questioning, like when my friend Oscar was asked to give a marketing class in a college, and said:
"Marketing, ladies and gentlemen, is done to help every company lose money."
...And all he got as an answer was a group of 30 people sitting down in front of him, writing down that great lie as if it was a dogma to live by.
Don't worry, Oscar gave a 40-minute lecture about questioning what is received, thinking for oneself and the true purpose of education after seeing that; but not everybody has those students' good luck. We need the change.
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