As a student first and now a teacher, I always dreamt of a “reimagined school system”. I believed that the way we run schools isn’t going to be compatible with the changing time.
I believe that education should go beyond school. Education should go beyond the four walls and the two examinations over chunks of ever changing curriculum sets. Schools should change to suit the present and future needs.
Recently, a person I look up to shared this which really triggered my feelings over reimagining education. Through a very casual talk he shared that the present school system started during the first industrialisation and it was started to serve the purpose of that time.
It is interesting to look at why schools in the country are still the same. But we can and must reprioritise the school system to suit the future. The World Economic Forum predicts that 65 percent of the primary school children globally will be working in jobs that don’t exist yet. So, shouldn’t our schools and institutions work towards this uncertain situation which is actually certain to happen?
Schools should move from the “factory” model. Can our schools employ technology more and cater to personalised learning?
Why should our schools go the “one medicine cures all” way always? Shouldn’t the curriculum and school systems move from syllabus completion to imparting education? Does education through the current school system equip children for life? Is life-long learning a focus in schools or is it syllabus, subjects and exams stealing all the focus?
Twenty-five children in a typical Bhutanese school classroom do 8.30a.m-4.00p.m system with the same subjects that their grand parents learnt. Our children are still reading “Dechen Dechen where are you and Momo the Monkey!” We have no room for personalised learning because all 25 children in the class have no choice but to learn the universal subjects and study them.
Our schools aren’t giving opportunity for Karma, for example, who has a natural passion for computers and, Tshering is a born videographer; Pema will get punished for bringing guitar to school and Dorji’s basketball gets confiscated because he did a couple of bouncing in the class. Tashi and Wangmo are shown the negative sides of internet. Dancing and music, for example, are isolated for three days once a year. But then, everyone is told to be topper.
Children are not prepared for a skill-based future. Everyone has to become a doctor or an engineer. Most of Bhutanese YouTubers, choreographers, plumbers, waste handlers, construction workers and entrepreneurs became who they are not after attending 13 years of education. Can our schools cater to students wishing to become entrepreneur and life long learners?
How can schools still focus on non-automated human skills like resilience, emotional intelligence, empathy, responsibility, integrity, problem-solving skills and, of course, tha damtshi lay judrey?
For example, why would Ap Karma use a pair of oxen in an age of power tillers? We must employ technology to our advantage. Schools should prepare our children for a future where automated fluid work system, gig economy, disruptive technology, block chains, Internet of Things, Big Data, Coding , AI and robots will become a part of their daily life. How can schools have nationally rooted, globally competent graduates?
Lobesa LSS, Punakha