Restructuring Education

This article proposes a model for a more effective system of education

Photo: Jeswin Thomas on unsplash.com

The current education system is dominated by a system of assessment that was designed in and for the last century. The current system undermines its effectiveness. Copious research identifies the needs to develop an education system that is more rounded, more in tune with the way we learn and interact, more based on the skills we are likely to need during the coming century, not the last one.

There is a growing discussion around the purpose of education. I believe we need to refocus the discussion around the objectives for education since it provides the basis on which the system itself can be evaluated. It is appropriate for our politicians to determine the objectives on behalf of a nation’s population. They need to ensure education does what people want. But it is not appropriate for politicians, who have little professional experience of education, to determine the curriculum.

Independent Educational Body

This proposal is for politicians to create objectives and to set up an independent body. The body will determine the way in which schools can achieve those objectives.

The body would need to account to the government for its use of government funds in relation to its formal objectives. The proposal provides an opportunity to decouple long-term schooling from the short-term demands of the political cycle.

Objectives for Education

This is a proposed set of objectives for education as the basis to kick-start a national discussion about what we, as a nation, seek from education.

1. Rational Capacity
Transfer for Knowledge/Know-How

The education system should determine which knowledge of humanity should be transferred to the next generation and implement the transfer. The body of human knowledge is so vast that it is not possible to transfer all knowledge to all students. Instead, the education system should discern which knowledge should be transferred directly and what skills are needed for additional knowledge to be found and transferred into adulthood.

2. Ethical Capacity
Develop Understandings for Social Cohesion/Enfusion

Schools establish an environment in which children experience and develop social interactions. A child’s personal and social development is a primary determinant in their capacity to live and work together harmoniously as adults. Schools should nurture personal and social awareness to form a solid base from which social cohesion can emerge in time.

3. Social/Environmental Capacity
Develop Understandings for Society’s Productive Capacity

Society collaborates to create added value for human and planetary wellbeing. Human wellbeing is concerned with personal and communal security, relationships and engagement. Planetary wellbeing is concerned with harmony and sustainability. Society generates the means for wellbeing through communal, commercial and institutional organisations of people. Schools should develop and nurture the understanding, skills and dispositions required to support our social structures that generate security and wellbeing.

4. Learning Capacity
Develop Learning Skills

As technology develops throughout a person’s lifetime, the knowledge, understandings and skills they need change. Schools should develop children’s capacity and desire to learn what they need for their personal development and contribution to society throughout their lifetime.

5. Social Justice
Lay the Foundations for Equal Opportunity

Every child should have equal access to education, regardless of their background. This is the basis on which the system of education can contribute to equal opportunity into adulthood, regardless of the adult’s background.