Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Ask Students What Their Education Should Look Like

Recently in Thailand and beyond, the media was abuzz with stories of ‘Frank’, the high school student who started a Facebook campaign to abolish the mechanistic school system in Thailand.  Schooling in some Asian countries demands military-like discipline from students in order to produce a homogenized, compliant and a near-identical set of adults.  In Japan, for example, for much of their school lives, hair length and hair color are regulated.


Frank and his ‘friends’ want to transform the purpose of Education and encourage ‘free-thinking’.  What they are seeing is that society’s demands of them as adults and citizens are vastly different from the adults they are taught to become. The strict conformity of some Asian school systems highlights the gulf between what is taught and what is needed, but in most countries it is fair to say, I believe, that there is a disjoint between the objectives of Education systems and the needs of societies.

Education produces adults who are:
Economies need adults who are:
obedient
compliant
homogenized
consumers
aware
independent
creative
improvisers
caring

So what to do?  Much is written and said about how Education needs to change but little actually gets changed.  But if even the students themselves can recognize that something is wrong then its time we all listened. 

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