The responsibility of education in times of global change

I am responding with this post to the invitation from my friends at CAESCG to present a magnificent video that allows us to visualize how anachronistic the educational system can be in today's changing world.

- Uniformity: what has been intended is for everyone to reach the same goal. And the level of progress with respect to the knowledge of the past has served to measure people, to classify them. Not counting other possibilities, other talents. Those were left for leisure and private life.

- Detail: people were expected to be specialists in a specific field and to know as much as possible about that field. It didn't matter if they were ignorant of the rest.

None of that is useful anymore. Global change demonstrates this, and in itself may be one of the terrible consequences of the traditional educational approach, created for the society of the industrial revolution. Why, you ask?

- Because global change is something new, a surprise in the future. Civilization has never known anything like it. And education based on the past does not prepare for surprises, for uncertain futures.

- Because global change requires new ways of looking at things, with a different mentality. And classifying people according to their knowledge of the past has forgotten talents such as creativity, mental flexibility to change one's mind, art, motor skills, empathy…. All these talents are not very useful for learning the past. But they are useful to face uncertain futures, especially creativity and mental flexibility. Of course, the people who possess them may be classified well down "culturally", far from the centers of decision making.

- Because global change consists of interactions that propagate consequences. It requires a global vision. And looking at the detail, specializing, does not provide us with the global vision that an uncertain future requires.

Most likely, global change is one of the consequences of an education system dedicated to training future workers. Can you imagine another education system? There are people who do. People who think that the education system should serve to help make the best possible decisions for the common good and for themselves, mobilizing all their talents, including the ability to invent better possible futures and to change their minds if they have better information. Perhaps the ideas that Ken Ronbinson shares with Eduardo Punset will help us to progress along this path.

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