It is just not functioning anymore. Our educational system is as dysfunctional as the other two central pillars of our societies. The root systems serving all our central social functions and considered traditionally as the pillars of developed societies; namely legal, health and educational systems are ever more struggling to fulfill the needs of both, our societies and the individuals that constitute them. As the root systems are essential for feeding the tree of life we need to consider how to revitalize them. All three root systems developed in wrong way as they were born out of the societies of yesteryear that did not share our vision of empowered individuals. Our root systems are ripe for change.
The fact that individual empowerment actually arrived to the level that has far surpassed the initial dreams of the early visionaries of modern societies. At the same time the three central root systems remained anchored on idea that the responsibility for the future lies on the state rather than on the individuals. See how Sugata Mitra of MIT describes educational system as a victory of Victorian engineering whose robustness far outlived the need for which it was designed, i.e. creating a replaceable individual for the the colonial administration. As a consequence of these changes, none of the three central systems does enable proper communication between the individuals that would make them to tackle the issues together in the most efficient way. We need to reform our root systems so as to enable massive, integrated interchange of knowledge. Our societies are obviously poor in their capacity to understand the interconnections and interchanges occurring between the natural and social environments and we need to improve those understandings if we aim at all at administering the planet properly.
We’ve arrived to the point where the legal system takes the responsibility for communication between the disputants away from its users, the health system devote all its energy to curing the symptoms rather than the causes thus removing the responsibility from the patients and the education takes away the curiosity which is essential for learning away from its students. On top of taking the curiosity away it instills the pupils with the wrong kind of relation to authority. The worst trait of the contemporary education systems is that it does not prepare its pupils for the only thing that matters in the world that doubled its population within a lifespan of a single generation: embracing and generating the change. Education must prepare people for changes as we are facing an unprecedented set of problems due to the population of the planed doubling within the lifespan of a single generation. When I went to school there were 3.5 billion inhabitants and now we are 7.5 billion. This has never happened before and it is not likely to happen again. The sheer scale of this change made us face a set of challenges no other generation ever had to face. Our school system completely failed to prepare us for this challenges and we are living in denial of the scale of changes we need to undertake. Our education did not gave us passion or even capability to do what is necessary to find novel and original solutions to the new problems. I always tell my students that changes are fun and the possibilities endless but this is most often met with incredulity because the school system already instilled them with the skepticism.