The Flaws In Our Education System

Here’s a quick list of what I see as some of the main flaws in our education system. By ‘Our Education System’ I mean Ireland, China, the US, India and many others – there may be some differences but most education systems today and throughout the short history of public education, suffer from these shortcomings to some degree or another. Pardon the pun.

Some of our Education Systems most glaring flaws:

  • Standardized Testing: Life isn’t standardized. Does anyone care what Einsteins results were? No, because he dropped out when he was fifteen to go change the world. Do all the A grade college grads working in retail and bars care that their scores were so good when they’re not in the career they wanted? This is taking the joy out of learning and placing undue pressure on students at a time in their lives where they need to be given room to explore and experiment.
  • Excessive Rote Learning: The whole of human knowledge is a couple of clicks away, we need to be learning how to process and analyse all that info, not memorize so much of it when computers are so much more efficient at that. Even in Ireland where education has been as sleepy and out of touch as anywhere else, there is a growing awareness for the need to change, even in the political and educational establishments themselves.
  • Factory based education. Universal public education came about when adult factory workers became disgruntled with all the cheap labour children and teens taking their jobs. A compromise was made: An education system that would produce well-drilled, obedient factory workers was put in place. The workers got their jobs back, and the factory owners got a steady production line of unquestioning, reliable drones.
  • Teacher Training: While we all know wonderfully passionate and hardworking teachers, too often I or my friends were treated as obstacles to an end of week pay-cheque. Teacher training needs to change to shift the emphasis from one right answer, being obedient and memorizing, to asking questions, coming up with different ideas and viewpoints, and creating. Aswell as teachers loving the kids and wanting with all their hearts to help them succeed. For an example in the kinds of teachers we need, check out this post by Jamie Lee from Kids at SWiTCH

I experienced this alot in school myself. Though not with that specific question.

The following article on Forbes touches on the majority of the above points and I’d recommend reading it.

I’ll be following this post up with a similar list of possible solutions over the next couple of days, so stay tuned!

What, in your opinion, are the education systems’ flaws?

13 thoughts on “The Flaws In Our Education System

  1. answering your question… I think the whole educational system is a big fault and I have little hope in a possibility of changing it as I strongly believe in individual education. There are many examples of effectiveness of private classes, individual education as such as it was in aristocratic families in 18-19 centuries.

    Yes, I do not negate the fact that even now some well-known Universities offer different programs and open-minded teachers exist, but…as long as they work in this system and under complete control of educational industry we hardly can see any improvements in human. I mean in humanity, in an individual human being. IMO education, pure education should have as its goal improvements and development of human nature , not acquisition of dispersed knowledge and piles of facts and theories, but an education of a profoundly thinking person. A person who is responsible for its own growth and development and who is brave enough to encounter his or her real self. It’s an education and unfortunately it has little or nothing to do with our modern educational systems.

    • That’s a very interesting comment, I totally agree that education should have as its highest goal the development and improvement of an individuals human nature. And the self-driven education you are driving sounds ideal.

      I do wonder about children from poorer families, inner cities etc. As you say, the self driven education of the 18th and 19th centuries was exclusively aristocratic. I’m afraid that at the moment what you’re saying might work only for the middle class and upwards.

      I do agree that the current education system, and government run education in general, would ideally be completely replaced. But first we need to build a solid replacement for it, a framework that can give every child the oppurtiunity to direct their own learning with help from lots of different corners. And the people involved in the system may be heavily involved in that.

      Maybe society needs a youth branch where we collectively take responsibility for the development of the young? Perhaps every newspaper and magazine should have a youth section written by young people? Every workplace an apprenticeship scheme? We’d have to mind and monitor children as if our lives depended on it of course.

      What do you think? How could we let individual education flourish?

      • I’m quite agree with you that self driven education is for elite.
        “Maybe society needs a youth branch where we collectively take responsibility for the development of the young? Perhaps every newspaper and magazine should have a youth section written by young people? Every workplace an apprenticeship scheme? We’d have to mind and monitor children as if our lives depended on it of course.”

        Once I’ve read about a very similar project taken place somewhere in South America. and it was inspired by ideas of Ivan Illich. if you haven’t read his books it’s really worth of reading. He talks about community running schools, about apprenticeship scheme, etc. and what’s more is that he talks about human beings, about individual self development as it’s the first step toward liberation from all pseudo-rules that humanity imposed on itself. Illich was a clergyman and a great thinker

        there is also a documentary about a school in India where such a project is being realized, namely schools run by students in cooperation with adults.

        as well as another example of quite a peculiar education in Alexander Sutherland schools. There was a nice video on youtube in Spanish about his school.

        PS once I was very active on The learning revolution group and posted a lot of links, but unfortunately they weren’t archived and it’s a problem to find them on FB now :)

      • Hielenita these sound like very interesting projects, I’ll have to look them up. Or if you had links, that would be great. Is this the thread you wanted to post to the learning revolution?

      • yes, I wanted to post this thread on FB.
        as for links I had them on my old computer, but now I don’t have an access to them. anyway if I find direct links I’ll send them to you. as for documentary links…some of them were posted by Indian members of FB , Harsh and others. and now as they said old FB Thelearningrevolution group was deleted, probably together with the links :(

        once we had an youtube THelearningrevolution account where I’d saved the collection of links outstanding documentaries about education and other videos that could be helpful for self learning. May be it still exists…we have to check.

      • Well that’s a bummer if they’re lost. I much preferred the old group format but hey, I guess I’ll just have to take it up with Zuckerburg. Why not link the blog post and tell people that the good stuff is in the comments?

      • well, yes, I must admit old group format supported forums and we had some informative discussions, but alas…. and once I was active on the group, but many people just look for an improvement of an existing system of education ( innovations, technology, methods, etc…all these Montessori, Steiner, etc), but still we have no radical change…we are just content with visible, or I’d rather say superficial changes of programs and methods , but roots are the same… if we’re really eager to change , to have education that educates we have to rethink the very basis, philosophy, philosophy of education….and first thing for me is education is not about skills. well, let’s teach skills and facts, but please, do not call it an education. it’s a craft and nothing more. and btw our so called educators even don’t conceal this fact from our eyes ;) :/ on opposite it’s quite obvious and the question is clear : What is your future profession? What are you good at to make a living? What University can you enter to get a good job after graduation??? is it an education???? I’d say it’s a fair! it’s a market. and it’s all about “sell yourself, your skills”. after all it’s just a marketing! all our education is about marketing!!! isn’t it? yes, I think so. let’s call things by their true names. Who we’re lying to? enough! stop lying to yourself. and it’s a beginning of a real education. know thyself. stop lying to yourself, be honest with the most important person in your life: you.

        well, some persons might agree with many statements above, but in reality, when they forget this post they will return to their daily routine, because the system is really strong and mighty.
        I’d say a real education is much about an art than anything else, but for many it’s not easy to imagine, because they think in categories of school subjects and/or University courses where everything is separated and art is art and science is science, I’m not talking about that, I’m talking about philosophy of education, how we should consider it and the other thing is that education should be integrated into life, real life. Education isn’t just a preparation for getting a job, it’s not an initial part of human life as we think now. we think education is for youth, or well, now in developed countries there’s an education for 3rd age or different courses for getting a “better ” qualification!!! haha, for me that’s ridiculous. Education is all your life! how can it be separated into smaller chunks of acquisition of some skills ( good if we acquire anything at all ).

        well, for me education is a different concept. So, when on FB they start talking about learning “revolution” and then they end up with different and progressive new methods and “know-how” it’s simply not enough.I don’t deny modern progress, but it’s not a starting point.it’s just extra materials for improvements of what already GOOD. and what we have as a system is NOT GOOD at all. we can’t reform something that is from the very basis was meant wrong. Whatever improvements we can do we can’t change the essence. Once I posted a video < I don't remember a title of the video , but it's sounded like "don't send your children to school". it was said that if you had just some money to live on and support your children never ever send your children to school, because it's a place where parents loose their children ( should be understood in a figurative way). and after all how parents and all adults can imagine that sending a child to study with a group of kids of the same age can be beneficial ??? in life we don't deal exclusively with people of our age. life is diverse! and all that orders and commands system. well, it's been discussed in many articles and books.

        so, after saying all that, people get frustrated and without knowing how to really change the way we live, they tell you" well, but we can not just make a revolution. How can we implement new ideas into existing system???"
        but the problem is new thinking ( even it's not so new) cannot be implemented into old system, because the old system is in direct contradiction to this philosophy I'm talking about. Old educational system is not based on freedom, on the contrary it's based on fear and as a consequence we have different methods of grading, strong hierarсhy and obedience. and it's not an education , it's how concentration camps work!

        if I find a short video I've mentioned about " why not sending kids to school" I'll add it here. may be it's on my blog, I don't remember or may be I published it several months ago on my FB page. I remember it was not very popular :) people like talking about revolutions, I think they like the word :), but in reality they "re afraid of changes and besides revolution we have in mind it's not a revolution in a physical way, it's a radical change in our minds, in our way of thinking, in strong realization of who we're. Without it nothing can be changed.

    • Hey Hielenita, for some reason wordpress wouldn’t give me the option to reply directly below your last comment so I had to put my answer here.

      I like your point that sometimes we use the word revolution just because it sounds ‘nifty’, and it might add gumption to our cause. In fact you made a number of good points there, for example you said that people talk about revolution and radical change but in reality all they are talking about is reform.

      For example I saw another initiative which was going the length and breadth of the states asking kids what they thought school should be like. The children answered with things like more field trips, career based classes and longer recess; basically for it to be less school and more living. We should be reframing the question and asking kids what they would love to be doing with their day if there was no school. A lot of the time they’re going to answer based on what they know. So you might get kids saying they’d like to stay in their pyjamas all day and watch cartoons. We shouldn’t be discouraged by that, that’s where we know what grabs them – we can show them how to make their own cartoons, help them write their own stories etc. It leads us to where the kids focus is, and if we meet them there we can help guide them to the threshold of their imaginations.

      Education should be the facilitation of the ability and desire to learn and unlearn different thought processes, attitudes and skills in order to adapt to different situations throughout our lives. Perhaps, though education is a slippery snake to snag and define. As it should be, for it is a messy thing to deliver in practise; why shouldn’t it be awkward to define as well?

      To think standardized education could be an efficient method of learning is as bogus as saying that the problems each individual faces in their lives are standardized.
      As for parents losing their children to school, I see where you’re coming from as well. I read on article on the growing number of parents in the UK looking to set up their own ‘free schools’ and take back the reins somehow. Perhaps that will be the nail in Industrial Education’s coffin when the time comes for it to fade away – maybe it will be that parents simply stop sending their children to school?

    • Correct, Einstein did get a PHD in physics, prior to that though, he dropped out of high school at fifteen. He was only accepted into university after making up for a number of subject deficiencies. Or so I’ve read. He’s also oft quoted as saying “Education is what remains after one has forgotten everything he learned in school.” Thanks for keeping me on my toes though…

    • While I do think memory is an important skill, it should be learned by practising memory techniques. Currently education seems to consist of ‘learn all of this information off by heart, I don’t care how you do it, and spew it out in a test, or else’. So for all our rote learning, we don’t even learnhow to memorize! Read your post and left a comment, followed your blog too – its good stuff.

  2. Honestly, most teachers do not care about their students. To be a teacher you need to be passionate about teaching children. Some teachers give students simple work so that they don’t have to spend their time grading or giving feedback, students learn nothing from easy assignments. Teachers should not be lazy. Also at a young age we need to teach children to use their imagination and think outside of the box. instead of striping them of their creative thoughts. We must not teach them that there is only one right answer. We must not only provide positive feedback when find the right answer or do the right thing. We need to compliment them on trying. If we do this then they will feel good about their accomplishments and they will want to continue learning. It may not be the right answer but it is the right steps to find the answer. We need to keep students interested and positive

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