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Switching from traditional education in developing countries.

The issues faced in developing countries comprise quality of teachers, rigid examination system etc. I feel that if a developing country followed what Sir Ken said in his talk and what Seymour Papert etc. have also said, we could minimise the role of the teacher and the arch enemy the 'exam'.
Wondering if this is doable and how.

  • Jan 4 2014: There was a TED talk I heard recently about a man in India who installed computers in poor or isolated parts of the country and watched to see how children interacted with them. In most cases, they actually taught themselves English (because that's the only software that was available) IN ORDER TO use the computer with their friends. He was showing that we do not need teachers. We just need opportunities to learn and the freedom to go at our own pace with the people we care about.

    For several years now, I thought curriculums are a waste of time and are designed to control information dissemination to the youth. Spending eight hours out of a day learning what someone ELSE THINKS you should know instead of what YOU WANT to know. I think schools should be seriously questioned as a legitimate "preparation for the future" because most people who leave school are vastly unprepared for the life of an adult.

    I think the youth and the adults as concepts do not actually exist. It is just another way to impose a hierarchical structure at an age where that power dynamic will sink in so that there is less opposition in the future. I think we need to radically alter this approach by recreating schools to be community-organized workshops where any expert is welcome to teach about whatever they are an expert in. No degrees, no exams. If we keep thinking we need proof that we are educated, we will never trust what we know and will always be relegated to the decisions of other people instead of our own.

    I feel that this is very dangerous because it harbors the fears and inadequacies of the previous generations and causes the children to develop it within themselves, beginning a cycle of never accepting yourself because you are taught that only certain strengths are valuable. The world isn't made of one kind of people. It takes all of us to make all of us. We have to give back the locus of control to ourselves and our children if we ever want to be happy in the world.

    Thank you.
  • Jan 14 2014: Marjorie, I couldnt agree with you more. But what I find depressing is that is there any way out of this educational mess. Who will take on the giants of testing and scores. It's like taking on the oil industry or akin to it anyway.

    I feel if I could work with the leaders of our industry, education, but like minded people like Sir Ken Robinson, we could take one country as a sample and write an education policy. We could even do one for a developed country and one for a developing country. The latter might be easier to get across as the interests are not so well entrenched. What do you think?

    One would have to work in a university environment so that one could have access to documents and other expertise that one would require.
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    Jan 10 2014: I agree that traditional western-style education has lost its relevance, but not only in developing countries. Of course it's doable to change, but fear of uncertainty definitely prevents people from making big changes quickly. Until more people have solid images of other possibilities for what schooling could be like, change will be slow.

    Re: teachers and exams: I don't think it's a matter of minimizing the role of the teacher but rather recognizing the need to rethink the respective roles of teachers, students, and the learning environment. I believe in assessing for learning, but I do not understand the need for high stakes standardized testing and I think it's there because people got used to having it and it is now a multi-billion dollar industry--never easy to get rid of a big money maker.
  • Jan 5 2014: Thank you Jason. I couldn't agree with you more. I wish governments would recognise this premise and act on it. They are much more interested in the numbers of kids enrolled and don't give a damn about what happens after enroling or the high drop out rate. Most kids are dropping out due to boredom in the classroom with traditional methods of teaching and substandard teachers. A recipe for disaster for the future.

    I would love to spend time at a good universit and work with someone writing a liberal forward looking educational policy that does away with traditional methods of teaching and assessment.
  • Jan 5 2014: That is not my point. I am obviously one of the converted. How do you get governments to change educational policies and part ways with traditional and rigid education? Perhaps there isn't a away? How would one convince them given political preferences etc.
  • Jan 4 2014: don't worry,just do step by step from yourself:)