Globally we are facing a future more terrifying than any other in our recent history. The threat of climate change to initiate an extinction event still looms large, so do the current global challenges to supply a growing planet with water and food. Innovative solutions have to be devised to mitigate the very real and likely risks of fiscal crisis, in emerging and advanced nations.
A fiscal crisis is a crisis where a government or state cannot raise enough in revenue to pay for itself. The world economic forums global risk report 2011 states a fiscal crisis is very likely to occur.
Change is real and eminent and we do not know what the economies of the future will look like. We do not know what the future will look like, all we know is it will not be anything like yesterday. United nations secretary general Ban Ki Moon at the World economic Forum in Davos Switzerland urged global leaders to embrace economic innovation in order to save the planet, he implored we need a revolution.
The future requires excellence in skill, creativity and innovation. How do we meet this future and survive and thrive in it? One answer is through education. The answers to our collective problem are locked away in our minds. We must use our minds to analyze, imagine and innovate. The development of the mind lies in the realm of education.
Unfortunately our current educational model especially in the public school systems cannot generate a generation that will be able to meet the challenges of the future. Therefore to meet Ban Ki Moons call for economic and environmental sustainability through innovation will also require an educational revolution.
Meet educational revolutionary Sir Ken Robinson, a strong advocate for the shift in our current liberal arts educational model. He explains during a speech he gave at TED conference that the current educational system was designed conceived and structured for a different age. Our current educational system was the innovation of the industrial age and the enlightenment culture. This model makes erroneous assumptions about intelligence, that some have it and some do not, certain disciplines carry more value than others and the most damaging of all, our current educational model increasingly promotes conformity and inadvertently stifles innovation and creative thinking.
He thinks we ought to go in the very opposite direction of what we are doing now. Ultimately education should help you find out who you are so you can live your purpose. Finding out who you are is a process, a process that unlocks creativity and fosters innovative thinking. He is not the only one fighting for an implementing change.
This new educational paradigm operates on the fact that every person has the capacity for genius, every person regardless of race or social standing or culture. As educators we must draw this genius out.
Paulo Friere educator and author of book “education for critical consciousness” has been working tirelessly for decades to reform the old model of education that breeds oppressors and an oppressed division amongst it citizenry. This dynamic is at the core of every major crisis we as human beings are facing. An elite section of the population are squandering resources at an alarming and unsustainable rate, sending seismic shockwaves through global economies, in effect threatening the survival of all.
Harvard professor Howard Gardner outlines that to survive the future each student must have a discipline or skill they master, ability to synthesis concepts, creativity, respect and ethics. These five points are not a guaranteed outcome of today’s educational model.
These educators and countless others have been working on the new educational paradigm, that education should be designed to discover your purpose and to help you to live it! From this philosophy comes the new and progressive school. A particularly progressive school is the blue school in Manhattan, which Sir Ken Robinson sits as an advisor. The blue school mission is to cultivate creative inquirers, courageous and innovative thinkers that will help build a sustainable world. On the platform of higher education Sarah Lawrence College incorporates many elements of progressivism into its system.
However nowhere is the old model of education more devastating than on the African continent. This revolutionary educational spirit must be brought to our shores and implemented. One of the by products of a poor educational system is an unemployable citizenry. Not because there isn’t a willingness to work but rather there is a sizeable lack of creative and innovative thinking that will drive the change necessary for growth.
Unemployment levels are ghastly on the continent CIA world fact book has reported unemployment rates as high as 80%, rates in the 30’s 40’s are not unusual. For comparison unemployment was at 10.1% during the recent US economic crisis. Nigeria one of the richer nations is at an unemployment of 20%, the rate is astronomical for its youth population.
In Tunisia Hussein Nagi Felhi yelled out “no for misery, no for unemployment” before electrocuting himself sparking alongside the suicide of Mohamed Bouazizi a revolution in Tunisia overthrowing the government. While this violent outcry was warranted will it bring about the change that is necessary for all to prosper?
It’s imperative that the African nations look into these new emerging paradigms about education and quickly discard the ineffective educational systems handed to us by our colonisers. There system does not guarantee a livelihood after graduation, worse cannot produce a rational and critical thinking human being afterwards
We are gambling with nothing less than the future of the human race, we need to begin to train our minds and unlock the ethical genius that resides within us all, to clean up the mess we have made for ourselves globally in order to ensure our continued prosperity.
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