Consistently across the world, the criticism continues to be with the education system existing in every country. The education system that was established to help the Industrial Revolution era find skilled ’employees’ to make or maintain or handle men and machines. The same system still manufactures “graduates” in batches, eligible to work in Industries for wages. Historically, the system was established to aid the Capitalists and the Industrialists, and not the individual growth. Though many economies and governments have tried to amend it to serve both midst populist promises, however, it has hardly made a dent.
The common criticisms of the education system across the world has been that the system constrains creativity of an individual, enforces learning even at the lack of interest, lagging in relevance with the existing world, difference in public-private educational institution’s quality, non-personalized method of teaching that is less relevant to the learner, the generalized one-way lecture-mode of schooling system that doesn’t engage as much with the students, that it misses giving individual attention to each mind, etc. Apart from the common disappointments, we have got to admit that the design of this education system has got to make a major upgrade – not just with access possibilities using technology like MOOC, but also with redesigning the system beyond the traditional ‘certification’ system or ‘grading’ mechanisms like how products from factories would be ‘certified’ or ‘graded’.
Men and women are not goods; and their educational aspiration should be met with beyond the utilitarian needs of basics. Today, with the millennial generation leading the tribe, ’employment’ is expected to be beyond just the pay or perks; it is expected to help in emotional fulfillment – a sense of satisfaction in the impact on personal scale. More and more young minds have started exploring the world looking for answers and experiences. They enter the world that is much different than the 18th century’s workplace focusing production optimisation.
Today, the ‘one-shot’ learning mechanism is obsolete, wherein – gone are those days when one is born, goes to school, then college, then works for decades until retirement in his/her 60s, if alive – reaps the benefit of retirement to actually thinking deeply about life and personal needs.
In 2018, one cannot afford to continue with this established model; as people demand and encourage more and more technological innovation, newer and newer products arrive every quarter in a decade well enough to quash older products/industries to seep into the market killing it’s predecessor. With the killing of the precursor products, it equally kills ‘jobs’. (It kills ‘jobs’ and not ’employment’ in this narrative.) This new design of society demands an ’employee’ or an active ‘worker’ to keep upgrading himself/herself to stay relevant to the ‘jobs market’; so one has to consistently keep track of the changes and continue learning to survive. Learning is expected to be a habit of a lifetime, today. Loyalty is a question of approval to adaptability of the ’employee’.
As we exchanged and upgraded our phones from a Nokia 1100 button-model to a smart iPhone or Android, a whole world of jobs behind engineering those Nokia 1100 hardware and it’s Symbian OS turned irrelevant; while job demands for Smart Phone engineering and it’s new iOS/Android software development started growing. Earlier product’s lifetime was much longer around many years, today we change our phone once in 18 months or tops 2 years. The same concept could be extended to other industries with a different churn rates, however, one grasps the impact of technology and innovation eating up ‘jobs’ in need of newer skill-set for the newer ‘jobs’.
If not for the market changes, it is sometimes out of the aspiration to conserve and save manufacturing costs to increase profit margins: capitalism runs on the foundation to save cost or time. In our current market design, a robotics company or a block-chain company or a cloud-based products company sells it’s time-saving/cost-saving products to businesses, translating to another ripple of distortion in the ‘jobs market’.
This, in part, adds to automation of processes that eat ‘jobs’, creating a newer set of ‘jobs’ in the market. The newer jobs include helping these new automation machines to be included in the existing production line, to verify/maintain/train the machines too, etc. So, not all employment is written off, but rather a quick learning is becoming more and more necessary to staying at work or finding a new work. To be relevant to the world, one is constantly expected to learn more often than Industrial days.
It is not all dystopian that ‘jobs will be eaten by machines’. Turning into a Luddite or voting for protectionists isn’t necessarily a solution; but rather, transforming the mindset of our voting world to understanding the new norms of the jobs world and easing the process of learning to enable better adaptability helps. The foundation to all this is not in enforcing every mind to learn to compete in the job market or to learn something in complete resistance, but rather to create an environment that rejoices in learning and retaining information/skill-sets.
Although the importance of education is emphasized across the world, yet not many are ready to experiment and explore a new format to learn and apply for a job. To engage, enable and facilitate this new ‘iterative learning’ format, not many in the student world or education market are willing to dare this adventure and conquer a new format. There has been consistent disagreement with the Industrial education system design, yet no industry is ready to initiate an acceptance of a new format of ‘Qualified’ job-applicant where-in the filtering process does not require the traditional Diploma/Degree/certificate but rather a proof of Knowledge/Skill/Experience accounted by a completely newer format or model. May be a model of a newer types of testing mechanisms than a typical interview or written format? May be employ some automation or industry-expert “examiners”?
It is still strange that in a gender-equal society of today (even if not 100% – least aspiring to be gender-equal), we still call our “degrees” under the titles of “Master’s”, “Bachelor’s”, etc. Shouldn’t we begin rewriting all of the traditional systems, nomenclatures, processes including it’s certification mechanisms. If a new system is to form the foundation for a few decades to come, it is best that many a sharp mind invest time, cost and energy to rewrite the fundamentals. Systems including the newer tools available for an educationalist than just a “printing press” needs to be adopted including constant curriculum update mechanisms set in-place by design and default.
This educational evolution is probably happening today in parallel, however, the scale needs to be much larger for better impact and not just again a one-way video-lecture format that is popularized by MOOC. We need to start thinking of designing a far more immersive recursive learning environment for a “lifelong learning”: a process that makes learning desirable, enjoyable and non-stressful guaranteeing financial security at all times.