Sugrata Mita says schools are obsolete. Designed for a time when nations and empires required cogs with identical skills to keep their systems rolling, Mita claims that modern schools do not equip people with the kinds of skills required by the modern world, let alone the one that is to come. He points out, as many others have before, that schools still focus heavily on teaching things like addition, while technology has usurped that role in everyday life. He shows that while many schools teach children how to be unthinking automatons, what the world needs right now are people with the critical thinking and creativity to use the machines that have made unthinking automatons obsolete.
After asking himself whether teachers are even necessary in the modern world, and through a series of experiments he called “Hole in the wall”, Mita set out to see what skills children could teach themselves given an opportunity. The results are astounding, as children living in a slum master internet browsing, and 12 year olds in a rural Indian village armed only with a computer were able to educate themselves to a level comparable to a control group in a private school.
The second point he addresses is whether or not knowing is obsolete. Whether being able to pick up your phone and look up something you need within seconds, beats years of studying and learning what you may never need. This is something I think about every time exams roll around, when I expend a lot of time and effort memorising formulas, dates and quotes, that, if I ever needed in the real world, I would look up on my phone. This is an issue I have great passion for, because while some things need to be learned as a building block to other things, children are only children for a short time. Children have ever more to learn, to be ready to enter the world. We can't waste that window on the unnecessary.
There are many important and incredible points in this video. All through school, and now in University I have been constantly astounded by what we are expected to know and memorise, things that are quite easily accomplished by the smart phones in our pockets or even automated completely. People like Mita are increasingly coming forward to show that we waste so much of our resources, especially time, training children for a world that no longer exists. I am also a heavy user of products like Schaum guides and Khan Academy, and I can testify that I often do better on my own, armed with the right tools and incentives. I don't know where education will go in the future, but lets hope it looks more like SOLE and Khan Academy and less like the centre of rote learning I attended.