Dinosaurs of the Fossilized Education and System
We want you to imagine a world. It is such a world that you can follow the agenda every second, reach your friends, or even communicate with a message without any means. We want you to think, see, hear, and even feel at a time when even science has difficulty advancing, let alone the T of technology. The new generation, even the older generation, will question the existence of such an age. What would you think if we said that the education system established in such a period is still in use today?
While you are thinking about what we said, we also want you to imagine the students. They have such possibilities that lessons taught with tablets, animations played on smart boards, extra classes under the name of supporting the school, as if these were not enough, private lesson teachers who gave special education in every lesson. Theoretically, a student with these opportunities is expected to work wonders. However, in our country (Turkey), despite all these opportunities, our students follow a stable process in the world arena, third from the last, according to PISA (a kind of test that measures the ability of students to apply what they learn to life). Is it the roles of students in these failures that need to be questioned, or the inadequacy of schools with all opportunities in teaching? In fact, neither of them are criminals in the system. The important point is whether the information given in the education curriculum is applicable to real life.
Let's assume that a newly graduated young person who has been educated in the best schools of our country and has a master's degree in the field begins the process of finding a job. Of course, you are immediately accepted to work, right? Unfortunately, that doesn't happen anymore. A young graduate faces a lot of obstacles in the job search process. Among the qualifications that employers are looking for, there are many features such as skills that are not shown in schools and therefore cannot be qualified, certificates that need to be spent and obtained thousands of dollars, foreign languages that need to be spoken such as mother tongue, communication skills, leadership qualities. But what good is the mass of thousands of information that is acquired and memorized in schools? In the age of information and technology, computers can now do mathematical operations, 3D drawings, graphic designs or historical research much faster than humans. So, what demands do people who start their education life with pre-school education at the age of 5, continue with an academic career and spend about 17 to 23 years in schools meet? Could calculating how much time people spend at school or looking at the diplomas they earned show us what these people actually can do? Is it the demands of employers and the industry that need to be questioned, or is the education system established in line with these demands?
An excerpt from the speech of Sugata Mitra, who participated in Ted.com as a speaker and also won an award with the SOLE project:
"What is going to be the future of learning?
I do have a plan, but in order for me to tell you what that plan is, I need to tell you a little story, which kind of sets the stage.
I tried to look at where did the kind of learning we do in schools, where did it come from? And you can look far back into the past, but if you look at present-day schooling the way it is, it's quite easy to figure out where it came from. It came from about 300 years ago, and it came from the last and the biggest of the empires on this planet. ["The British Empire"] Imagine trying to run the show, trying to run the entire planet, without computers, without telephones, with data handwritten on pieces of paper, and traveling by ships. But the Victorians actually did it. What they did was amazing. They created a global computer made up of people. It's still with us today. It's called the bureaucratic administrative machine. In order to have that machine running, you need lots and lots of people. They made another machine to produce those people: the school. The schools would produce the people who would then become parts of the bureaucratic administrative machine. They must be identical to each other. They must know three things: They must have good handwriting, because the data is handwritten; they must be able to read; and they must be able to do multiplication, division, addition and subtraction in their head. They must be so identical that you could pick one up from New Zealand and ship them to Canada and he would be instantly functional. The Victorians were great engineers. They engineered a system that was so robust that it's still with us today, continuously producing identical people for a machine that no longer exists. The empire is gone, so what are we doing with that design that produces these identical people, and what are we going to do next if we ever are going to do anything else with it?"
According to our conclusion from this quote, the education system does not actually give bad results. Rather it works perfectly. The system is very successful in producing standard, the same type of people according to the date it was designed. However, this education system, which is not adaptable to today, does not meet the requirements of our age. In fact, meeting aside kills creativity with standardized methods. Today, there is no need for scribes who write beautifully. As you know, computers allow us to write any kind of text as we want, print it out and even send it to the other side of the world via the internet in a few seconds, with the increasing support of new fonts and formats. Likewise, we did not need to do mathematical operations such as multiplication, addition, subtraction, division perfectly or memorize formulas for pages. We have smart glasses and phones that reflect all these things to our pupils by doing very quickly with the voice response system. However, because a child of primary school age has difficulty memorizing the multiplication table and cannot write beautifully at the same time, his family is called and the child is pressured. Moreover, although we know that intelligence is divided into many different areas, children and young people are still labeled as not smart. So, with all these stories, is the thing that needs to be done to close the schools radically? Of course no. The school should continue to function as an institution that provides the sociality necessary for children and young people to reach periodic maturity, satisfies the sense of success, triggers creativity and helps to reflect physical energy.
We want to continue by quoting Abraham Lincoln. "The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country."
In addition to all this, educational scientists who discuss how to close the gaps in the education system in the education platform miss an important point. Criticizing an event is enough to see its vulnerabilities. But if you don't suggest an alternative path, what you're doing is just criticizing. In other words, as the proverb says, actions speak louder than word. In our opinion, the mistake made at the beginning is the effort to improve the education system currently in use. It is obvious that this system, which provides excellent service to the period it was created, cannot adapt to today's conditions. That is to say, what needs to be done is not to improve the existing system, but to create a flexible and innovative education system that can respond to today's needs, but also not serve the industry, but direct it.
As Sir Ken Robinson said "Every education system in the world is being reformed at the moment and it's not enough. Reform is no use anymore, because that's simply improving a broken model. What we need -- and the word's been used many times in the past few days -- is not evolution, but a revolution in education. This has to be transformed into something else."
Yasemin Bahar & Serhan W. Bahar