There’s an interesting TED talk on the state of the education system by Sir Ken Robinson, on the subject that schools kill creativity.
The Industrial Revolution
The birth of the education system started in the early 18th Century, coinciding with the birth of the industrial revolution which brought massive change to production patterns. To large scale organisations such as the Ford Motor company, the Industrial Revolution was a provided the stimulus to scale up their operations and at the same time to have a trained work force to meet the demand of company productivity, in order to service the ever growing rise in consumer demand for products and services.
To Ford, they just required compliant workers, who would follow the rules and instructions and deliver on time and this sent a benchmark for future multi-nationals in servicing their own products through employing compliant workers globally, and so an education system was born to support the demand of the Industrial Revolution and to churn out compliant workers ready for a working life of following the rule book.
Time for a change?
But is it time for this education system to be re-examined? The birth of the Internet has seen a change in working culture and with it a platform for individuals to create and launch their own companies as well as meet their own visions and aspirations – to finally stop having to follow the rule book of big corporations.
It could be argued that was is taught in school is still engineered to service the demands of the working patterns and culture of the 20th Century and before - production line working, where the worker is not paid to use their art of creativity and initiative.
Thomas L Friedman, author of “The World Is Flat”, wrote: “…around the year 2000 we entered a whole new era – Globalization 3.0 – which is shrinking the world from a size small to a size tiny and flattening the playing field at the same time“ Friedman goes onto refer to Globalization 1.0 as “countries globalizing” and the dynamic force in Globalization 2.0 was “companies globalizing”, the dynamic force in Globalization 3.0 is the “new found power for individuals to collaborate and compete globally”.
And from a recent blog post of Friedman recently posted a perfect summary to this:
“In the last decade, we have gone from a connected world (thanks to the end of the cold war, globalization and the Internet) to a hyper connected world (thanks to those same forces expanding even faster)….The connected world was a challenge to blue-collar workers in the industrialized West. They had to compete with a bigger pool of cheap labor.
The hyper connected world is now a challenge to white-collar workers. They have to compete with a bigger pool of cheap geniuses — some of whom are people and some are now robots, microchips and software-guided machines”
It’s refreshing to see from a recent BBC article that in a New York school, changes to the syllabus of this school is beginning to form with more emphasis on tailoring the structure to the individual student’s needs and requirements.
The fact is we are all now competing in a global job market – the question is going to be what are you bringing to the table, what makes you indispensible?