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Why is it that education almost everywhere is referred to as "the system"?

Why is it that education almost everywhere is referred to as "the system"? Is it not true that our children who are supposed to receive an education should be equipped with all the flexibility on how to use their brain power, and not just memorizing what's set in the curriculum? The curriculum sets the boundary, limits the development of the mind and also creativity. Yet "the system" is so strong, the teachers in it, who are now accustomed only to "the system", protect it with even stronger roots, to prevent anyone rocking the boat. The parents and society at large rely on the system and believe/live by the results it produced. Who looks out for the children's interests? No one!

At Young Entrepreneurs Development Council (YDC www.ydc.org.hk), we tried for more than 10 years, to take in every year, thousands of senior high scholars and change their mindset about learning for themselves, and the importance of learning towards grasping life, a life of fulfillment. It did wonders, especially among those not seeing light down the tunnel.

We should center around the young brains, how to activate them and allow them to develop to their fullest potential.

Sophie Leung
Kowloon,
Hong Kong

  • Jun 14 2013: "The system" is used to refer to many complex things. Its very confusing.
  • Jun 16 2013: How many people have been lost in the'system'?and they never doubt or be aware of it?or they doubt or are aware of sth already but they feel helpless to change or don't know what to do...sometimes I am in the system,sometimes I am aware of sth,sometimes I doubt,sometimes I been confused....So I do need reflect myself often...
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    Jun 16 2013: "The system" really needs to be "a process" that incorporates a feedback and improvement loop. It got locked into "this is the way to do it". As Christensen points out in his book, "Disrupting Class", it hasn't adapted near as well as it needs to.

    Any improvement to "the system" needs to include not only a way to collect feedback, but a way to evaluate that feedback and incorporate it into an ever-evolving process.
  • Jun 16 2013: It IS a system. And therefore new systems must supplant the one in place. Each year we get closer to the point where someone can offer something on the edges of education that radically departs and challenges the merits of education as it has existed. I know what I want to do about it, and I imagine that there are thousands of others with grand ideas. But we all know what's in the way--serendipity. Who will stumble into whom? Who will listen and risk versus judge and walk away. Creating a market is hard. It takes a lot of capital. But the numbers get better and better and the race has been on for a while. No one has delivered a radical concept that people will flock to yet. And there are reasons why certain developments in technology have made it murkier to try. One is the erosion of economy that has come with apparently "free" "aps" and software. Another is economic down-turn in general. Where does one start and with whom to create a new modernity that will be visible and attractive to others? This has been academic to me for a long time--it has only been serendipity that has dogged me. You run out of money and have to pay the bills doing "stuff" when you have just one purpoise to live for.
  • Jun 15 2013: Because the school education for the K-12 is usually free with the financial support from tax payers and managed by the government authorities. The bureaucrats from the authorities will NEVER LEAVE THOSE SCHOOLS AND EDUCATORS ALONE WITHOUT ESTABLISHING AN OVERSEEING SYSTEM ABOVE THEM TO "MAINTAIN THEIR QUALITY" and other nanny care of the school children.
    Here in the United States of America, the governments almost totally control the public schools including how to teach, the content of the teaching materials and the materials for the tests in order for the students to graduate. Sometimes, even for the alternative schools; call charter schools, are given a little more freedom, but they are still under the close supervision by the government. The government is willing to slow the learning of most students just to "rescue" a few students from failing to make the passing grades (it might not succeed), in the name of "equality" in educational opportunity.
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    Jun 15 2013: I think of "The System" as a necessary part of mechanics, of computing and even of ecology, where innate control or external controlling mechanisms are necessary for efficient operation.

    Where the human condition and the sensibilities of people are concerned, I see "The System" as a derogatory term - one that seeks control, is standardized, and is wholly inappropriate.

    Applying any mechanistic, systemic mindset to education has one aim only, and that is to standardize the thinking of ordinary people enough to perpetuate existing economic and political ideals. This of course can never be future proof, because the world moves on considerably faster than any systemic education can ever match.

    If governments continue to meddle with education from the top down, it will always be a "System", and eventually unfit for modern purpose.

    If on the other hand education were to respond, and be informed more by the teacher/student relationship (ie from the bottom up), it would be more able to cater for individual aptitude, creativity and regional variation.

    Crucially, this would also attract back the charismatic teachers who 'teach from the heart', - who may have left the teaching profession because of the controlling, insidious nature of standardized systems.
  • Jun 15 2013: Maybe because it is big, unwieldy, bureaucratic, etc. Yes, perhaps everywhere.
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    Jun 14 2013: I think the label "system" in this case is meant to suggest an established, homogeneous, arcane, and inflexible unit and to discourage in depth and thoughtful inquiry into the current variation and dynamic of the different interacting components.

    It has become kind of like labeling something as "the establishment."