Innovating education

Everything I've read so far on renewal and innovation of our floundering education systems seem to be based one or more of these unchallenged and potentially faulty assumptions:

  • Business knows what we need. Hell, they can hardly predict a quarterly earnings report so why would they know anything about what kind of competences would be needed in 50 years time?
  • Politicians know what we need. Hello, get real.
  • The current system can be fixed. Remember Einstein's wise words?
  • A knowledge society will resemble an industrial society. That is obviously what our industrial minded institutions need to say and believe. They aren't just going to dismantle themselves peacefully.
  • A knowledge society is what we are headed for. Hello once again. How can we be so sure? Could is be that this knowledge society is just a transition phase into whatever comes next? Or will there be several parallel societies? Just sayin'…
  • With rational thinking we can deduct what the future education system needs to look like. Duh, that is the industrial model. Remember Einstein..?
  • No bold choices and decisions need to be made. Once again the voice of the industrial and bureaucratic mind.
  • Human needs (our kids' needs) are not given weight in the innovation process. This makes me the most frustrated. Our kids are seen as empty containers to be filled. Furthermore, established institutions, largely clueless about our future, are allowed to more or less without opposition dictate what education should look like.
  • We can't start changing the system if we don't know beforehand what the end result should be. If the need was an incremental change, fair enough. But we are approaching a system change that aims to create a body of methods, knowledge and competences our kids will be using 30-50 years from now. So how could we know the end result? Even hinting that borders on arrogance.

I'll leave it at that. I think my point is fairly clear. We need to have a much more broad and open view of the process of innovating education. Yes, and also remember that it needs to be an emerging process. Trial and error, experiments, prototypes, etc.

Right now it is more fruitful to discuss and build agreement on a process for the innovation of our education systems rather than get locked into arguments about content, curricula, learning goals and you name it. Sure, we need a desired outcome to give us direction and in my view that outcome should be formulated in terms of human needs. Nothing less.

And I'll say one thing that I believe must be in that desired outcome. Ecologically sustainable human life.



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