A Survivor of a Man-Made Trap

I was a good student until high school. Truth be told, I struggled to pretend to be an A student until I reached high school, to the point when I finally snapped and something drastic happened. Even though I rarely share it, I chose to do so in my recently published book, “The Digital Mind of Tomorrow”. If you are curious about what has happened, please go to the first chapter.

I’ve always been the top student whom teachers hold up as an example as far back as elementary school. I’ve been trying to be the BEST STUDENT by strictly following all of the established guidelines and protocols, but guess what? I still don’t know anything and have been living in constant fear of the ifffffffffffffffffffffff.

Later, I’ll explain the fear. Today, I’d like to discuss the ways in which my formal education both shaped and limited me.

I had an exceptional memory. It’s something I’ve been able to showcase and get compliments for all my years in the educational system. And it continues to be the case now—remembering it is the same as learning it. Information stays in your mind long enough to use on your exams and homework. The next day, you throw it away. Then, you fill your brain with new information (not knowledge) and start all over again. Without really understanding anything, I memorized a ton. According to the school system, I have learned a lot and I am a well-educated person.

The main education system does not provide students with an education. Finding the sweet spot between burning out and how to get the highest grade is a never-ending balancing act. So, the next important question is, “Why?” Is it to become a good worker or a “good citizen” by obeying all the rules and not creating trouble? Robots used to do a great job at that.

When the industrial revolution was in full swing at the turn of the 20th century, plans were made to establish a formal educational system. The method was meant to prepare children for shift work, so it focused less on teaching them to think critically and more on teaching them to be on time, follow rules, accept authority without questioning it, and learn enough to be useful workers.

During the Industrial Revolution, when many employees were required in factories and offices, our current structure was developed. For instance, it takes years of education to become a professional accountant, lawyer, or architect. Master it once, use it forever. College principles haven’t changed in decades, so you can afford to remember something once and then count on it throughout your life.

However, advancements in technology are making this process obsolete. You can’t go to college for four years and then plan to spend the next four decades in the same job. Workers in today’s economy often switch careers. In the last ten years, I’ve experienced: legal, analytics, events, marketing, business development, entrepreneurship, and now digital innovation and cultural transformation. Many emerging fields no longer need a lengthy university education.

Over the last century, we have made a few significant changes to our approach to education. It has hit a wall, become out of date, and desperately needs a complete overhaul. A few shining examples exist in the private school sector, but the public education system, which serves the great majority of our children and is responsible for their instruction, guidance, and motivation, is a dinosaur of an institution that has outlived its usefulness. It stopped caring about the receivers and lost sight of them a long time ago.

A good education is essential to the growth of a vibrant society because it provides a fertile environment for the development of original ideas and optimistic perspectives. The Future of Hope! Since the publication of my book, I’ve been leaning toward younger generations. Where is the future? With and by whom is the future being developed? I devoted a good number of sections in chapter 2 to discussing it.

As Dr. Anne Stenros wrote in her article, “THE YOUTH SMART CITY – Coproducing the Next Urban Vision with the Young,”

“How to create the Youth Smart City that is coproduced by its people, especially by youth, since they represent the future and the next generation of citizens and the city. We should see the youth as an integral part of the cultural and urban ecosystem and engage them to cocreate the future of the city through an ongoing dialogue on how, why, and where we are heading. We should take participation into the next level and move from cocreation and codesign to the coproduction of urban environment with young people.”

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