The current education system and the future of learning

June 11, 2021
Jonah Bolden
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Did you know that Mark Twain, one of the greatest writers of all times, once said:

"The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education."

Now, this saying literally speaks for itself and gives us a very clear idea that education and learning are not the same things. Many people in this world spend their lives thinking that they are going to schools, colleges, and universities and spending their lives learning. They fail to understand that attending school does not mean that we are learning; it just means that we are stockpiling curriculums that need to be remembered (not necessarily learned), and in most cases is seen as a means for a better life financially. So, what exactly is the difference between the two things?

To some extent, both the words, education, and learning, are related to the phenomenon of acquiring knowledge. The main difference between the two is that learning is acquiring knowledge or skills based on studies, experiences, or the phenomenon of being taught. While on the other hand, education is the process of receiving or giving systematic instructions to solve a particular problem.

"Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today. Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude. If you think education is expensive, try ignorance. The only person who is educated is the one who has learned how to learn…and change." – Anonymous.

Education nowadays implies that being obedient is the key; it provides us the talent of obedience and the skill of compliance. No matter how much talent you possess, you will not be considered fit for schooling if you lack obedience or if you don't comply with the teacher. Today, following the rules is a must. It doesn't matter how absurd, valueless, and arbitrary these rules may be; you must follow them. Nobody notices that the world cannot be changed by obeying, but it is changed by pushing the boundaries, breaking the rules, and crossing your limits.

As we all know, today's education system's most basic rule is a fair test and fair election, which means that everybody will be judged by a specific test and the same criteria no matter what ability they have. For example, in a jungle, all animals like lion, monkey, elephant, penguin, fish, birds, and others are given the same test to climb a tree. Albert Einstein once said:

"Everyone is a genius and has their own abilities. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, then it will spend its whole life believing that it is stupid and not worthy."

People claim that education is one of the essential factors that contribute to any society or nation's progress and prosperity. It is considered a fundamental human right in almost every country and every part of the world. Education has to be given away to the underlings by instructors or teachers who have experience and knowledge. It also requires formal institutes, certifications, and a structured environment. The importance of education varies from person to person. There are people in the world who think they cannot pull anything off if they do not have sufficient education. While on the other hand, there are people who believe that education is an integral part of life, but life still goes on if we do not have a very prestigious degree.

In contrast to that, learning is defined as acquiring knowledge of behaviors, skills, values, or preferences. Many factors can contribute to a person's learning process, such as educational institutes, personal development, schooling, training, and even personal experiences. People learn both consciously and subconsciously, and most importantly, learning is not limited or confined to a person's age. People can and do learn throughout their lives because they keep on experiencing things as long as they are alive. Moreover, learning is also not bound to human beings only because research shows that animals, plants, and even a few machines (artificially intelligent, of course, but we'll save that for another piece) can learn and adapt to evolve. A person only learns when they are prompted and tempted by curiosity and intrinsic motivations.

Tomorrow's schools will be entirely different than they are right now, but for today, chairs and desks are still arranged in rows, the bells ring periodically throughout the day, students file in and file out like cattle. In between the bells, they sit fidgeting while the teacher vomits out information from a 600-page textbook. Because the curriculum in that textbook is standardized and approved by central authorities, deviation from that curriculum would affect test scores. Low test scores, as a result, could affect teachers' performance evaluations. So, to some extent, teachers are accountable for how the students perform and have incentives to teach from a standardized curriculum. The students continue to fidget. Some are bored and disconnected; others are distracted. Maybe there are a few opportunities for some of them to challenge the text or engage in today's curriculum, but that takes a back seat to just getting through till class is over. The teachers, sapped of creativity and drive, looked utterly bored too. The most familiar part of everything is the class bell, which meant a break from fifty minutes of monotony.

A venerable teacher and iconoclast, John Taylor Gatto in Dumbing Us Down, writes:

"I've noticed a fascinating phenomenon in my thirty years of teaching. Writes venerable teacher and iconoclast John Taylor Gatto in Dumbing Us Down. Schools and schooling are increasingly irrelevant to the great enterprises of the planet. No one believes anymore that scientists are trained in science classes or politicians in civics classes or poets in English classes. The truth is, schools don't teach anything except how to obey orders."

Taylor thinks that although today's teachers are caring and hardworking, the institutions are psychopathic and have no conscience. It certainly rings a bell, and the young man in the middle of writing a poem must close his notebook and move to a different cell where he must memorize that humans and monkeys derive from a common ancestor. We can also say that education, on the one hand, is the worldly knowledge or the information that is necessary for an individual to grow in society and turn out to be a successful citizen in terms of social and professional lives. While on the other hand, learning is the necessary knowledge and information that a person needs to become a better individual and a better person as a human being.

To lead a happy and successful life, one must acquire both education and learning because one makes them a productive citizen who contributes to the economy while the other helps them become better people to make this world a better place. This entire education model has been compared to a Soviet-Era factory. There was no price system in such a factory, no feedback system mechanism, no creativity or entrepreneurial spirit. Central planners estimated what the people needed and doled it out. If you needed shoes, there were three sizes. If you needed a coat, there were three sizes. If you needed meat, there were three kinds (in the lean times, "tongue, offal, and scraps"). Analogously, in centralized education, students are viewed as outputs, where their heads are treated like buckets to be filled with information curated by central elites per se. After twelve years, if they are to be "prepared for college," they will have memorized as much of the curriculum as possible. The students' incentive was only to the extent to which they align with curriculum developers' goals to consume and regurgitate.

The bright ones don't learn much from these schemes, certainly not critical thinking or creativity. Instead, they explore online after school, and they dive into alter realities that can escape the un-aligned one they exist in during school hours. Perhaps they find something compelling to read before bed. The rest, if they don't drop out, muddle through till graduation. At this point, they must figure out the ways of the world. We have witnessed that even teachers have different opinions on education's importance, and real conflict occurs when they collide.

In an educational institution, there are many vital role-players. Sometimes, it becomes imperative that they be on the same page about what education means to them and what it should be. Administrators, teachers, students, and their parents all play an essential role in what children's education should be like and what they need to do to achieve it. Here are a few things that I think makes education a very important aspect of a person's development:

To provide knowledge of the basics of life:

It is one of the oldest reasons in the history of education, and it claims that people need to get an education to get by in life when it comes to basic things such as read, write, speak, sign, mathematics, etc. These are the most basic of all the topics. People need to know these to overcome even the most minor of issues and overcome challenges.

To help them become better citizens:

Education provides people with the ability to think on their own. It helps them grow and evolve into more thoughtful and responsible citizens because it creates an awareness that we need to become law-abiding and accountable citizens. Students nowadays will eventually turn into parts of the community and will require basic social skills to exist and survive within these communities.

To give them confidence and boost their self-esteem:

People need to grow in an environment where they feel confident about themselves and feel good about themselves. Education provides individuals with the confidence to not feel shy or inferior.

It is assumed that higher education is a little better. A mix of student-loan debt, vanity-based alumni endowment funds, and government subsidy shore up a great guild. So, suppose the primary and secondary education systems look mostly like a state-run monopoly. In that case, higher education has the qualities of a cartel. The result is that these mediating structures seem to be frozen in amber. The systems have persisted for more than a century due mainly to their resistance to change and to tight control over the flow channels that keep them alive. And like any other monopoly, guild, cartel, benefits accrue to the members. Threaten those members, and you're accused of threatening to take education from children.

Keeping the urbanization trends in mind, we can say that it somehow complements the education system in many countries. New York Times claims that China's rush and urgency to urbanize is driven by a vision of modernism that has been proven to be unsuccessful in countries like Mexico and Brazil. Quality of life matters a lot when it comes to leading a healthy and happy lifestyle. People seem to believe that the only way for their kids to get a good quality education is for them to afford good schools in big cities because that is where the kids of the people from well-off backgrounds study.

It is considered a basic human right in almost every country and every part of the world. Education has to be given away to the underlings by teachers who have experience and knowledge. It also requires formal institutes, certifications, and a structured environment. Parents believe that the kids who study in urban schools rather than those in the less-populated areas have broader horizons. They have better cognitive abilities because the standard of education is better in those schools than in rural or communal areas.

Monopolies, guilds, cartels, and organizations that resemble them fight fiercely to protect their interests. In higher education, there are differences between public and private universities. But all share the basic guild structure:

· Accreditation Boards: Protective oligopolies give members (universities) a degree of competition by bestowing the power to grant degrees.

· Universities: Protective guilds that give their members (instructors) the power to give grades (which students need to get degrees).

· Students: A protected group that spends time and money on the guild to be granted — that is, signaling mechanisms for professional life or graduate school.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present you the REAL pyramid scheme. There happens to be every direct connection between urban society and a country's education systems because more than 70% of the population that can afford these schools live in urban areas. Surveys also suggest that literacy and urbanization go hand in hand, and they are believed to complement each other too. For centuries, we have been observing that education and numeracy grow to be much valuable when independent political and military developments lead to rapid urbanization.

However, when it comes to education in the rural areas, it is looked down upon by the parents of the kids based in urban areas because they think that the environment is not up to their mark and that their kids will not get to learn as much as they would do in the schools. Moreover, it is also speculated that the teachers and the rural school staff are not up to standard. The kids will not be getting the chance to grow in the school in urban cities. Let's take a look as to what is good or bad about the schools in rural areas:

There is a school spirit:

The schools in rural areas are packed with the spirit of proudness and livelihood. The students get a feeling of belonging at the school because they spend most of their time there.

Better safety:

The areas in the rural vicinity are comparatively safer than the ones in the cities. There is hardly any incident of mugging, shooting, or any other street crimes. Moreover, these areas are relatively free from drugs and other hazardous habits.

Limited work/job opportunities:

There is not much that the companies can offer in rural areas because they do hardly have any operational units in rural areas. This aspect makes it difficult for kids and parents to decide whether they should send their kids to school.

In a nutshell, the best option for the parents and their kids is to make sure that they research both the options so that they don't regret their decisions later on. Many people in this world spend their lives thinking that they are going. When kids are given a chance to grow and are nurtured in an environment where they get ample chances, they become better versions of themselves. In a lot of cases, we have seen that parents emphasize the education of their kids. They keep fixating that their kids should get the best possible education. However, learning is what the kids need when seeking to strive and thrive through life. For us to provide our kids with excellent academic life and to make sure that they get the kind of education that is essential for them to grow in their lives, we need to make sure they get the perfect environment for learning and growing mentally. A learning environment is a combination of the right kind of engagement for the kids. It provides them with a place to gain knowledge and deal with practical problems.

In most parts of the world, education is considered to be one of life's basic necessities. Their duty usually falls to the government in every country to ensure that the literacy rate goes up and free. Yet, quality education is made accessible to everyone regardless of their caste, color, or creed. We can also say that education, on the one hand, is the worldly knowledge that is necessary for an individual to grow in society. Learning is the essential knowledge and information that a person needs to become a better human being.

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