This post is inspired by the work of Mr.Sugata Mitra, whose TED 2013 talk served as the starting point of my thinking on this subject.
Despite the advent of new and improved techniques education (in India) still retains one basic cornerstone – the retention and reproduction of information and data in the form of memorization and examination.
Those were very essential characteristics for individuals who seek excellence in whatever field they chose to – in the past. A statistician had to remember formulae so that he/she could do work at speed without having to resort to a visit to a library, a person working in statutory compliance need to remember the laws which apply to the job he/she was involved in as it reduced time spent on searching, This came at a cost – i believe, as it reduced the amount to time, energy and mental space a person has to invest in other aspects of life and work – creativity, analytical thinking just to name a few.
Today, our world is in a place where literally the entire knowledge of human civilization is in the palm of our hands, faster to locate than in any library and it is only bound to get more accessible as data networks and devices to access them become cheaper and more widespread in their usage.
So why do we train our children in a skill which appears to have no definite usage in the future?
Individuals can be trained in situational responsiveness and other skills which will have a direct impact in their professional and personal lives, education can free itself from being a training tool and move into being a learning experience which encompasses every aspect of human lives, creating a workforce and society which is capable of harnessing the resources, developing and creating new systems, process and ways of thinking.
We stand at the door of a new era, the era of information and connectivity. Mis-steps in enabling the individuals who will become the standard bearers of this era to utilize it to the maximum of their ability and potential will be a mistake that human society may sorely regret.
(for the TED Talk of Sugata Mitra please visit – http://www.ted.com/talks/sugata_mitra_build_a_school_in_the_cloud.html)