March 24, 2010

Education is Falling Behind due to our Arrogance

It was very nice to see one of my old friends tonight. For six months we lived in one of Stockholm’s most attractive, three floor, apartments. Yes, all the benefits with having such a place indeed. But tonight we didn’t talk about women or parties. We talked about education and the way we in the “developed” world are falling behind.

We simply have lost the will to imagine the impossible as something desirable. We no longer “build the tallest building” as Fredrik Härén would have put it. We no longer create those magnificent and new inventions that signifies a prosperous society. All we do is impose rules on change.

These rules can manifest themselves in ridiculous law suits against people sharing information, to busted doors for having an assembly about something government feel is not really politically correct.

We are people and there are a lot of us. We enjoy change by nature and thus we adapt naturally if we aren’t subject to restrictions that limit our behavior. But this post is very little about liberalism. This post is all about education.

Why I want to live in a developing country
In Bengaluru, India, they teach four languages in school. Naturally, they teach Hindu and English. Also naturally they have a choice for the third language. You can choose to learn Arabic, Spanish, French or any of the other big languages around the world. The fourth language however, is something which shows how these societies are able to adapt to the future. The fourth language proves that they know, what we don’t. The fourth language gives a significant and alarming indication to our decision makers that they are a nation, society and people of the future and not of the past. Their fourth language is C++.

Now if you are a programmer and read this you know that the world has gone far since C++, but if you think about it again, then imagine where you would be if you had been taught C++ from first grade in school. What would this do to your intricate relationship with digital understanding and development. It would be as sticky to your inner being as your native language is.

Whilst we are being taught the equivalent of carving images into cave walls, the people of emerging economies are being taught how to construct paper. But that’s not enough. They are being taught how to use this paper to create the communicative tools of tomorrow. Why are we arrogant enough to not recognize that the emerging, or “developing” countries are better than us when it comes to education?

Why I feel threatened
This example is only one of many. Whilst we are being taught rules, they are being taught opportunities. Whilst we are being constraint by bureaucracy, they are being encouraged to entrepreneurship. Whilst we only care about ourselves, they evolve banking systems that truly build upon building economies. Whilst we are going bankrupt, they are prospering in imagination as well as well being.

It is not important to analyze how we ended up in this place. We don’t have the time. We need to go into bootleg mode and copy whatever we are able to and try to catch up if we can. As we have molested the “third world”, I am not sure they will have mercy when they run us over.

Why I feel opportunity
The only good thing about this development is that I am a bit retarded. I have never accepted to be taught anything, and thus I have learned a lot on my own. I don’t think the same as my peers and I had a mother who mentally beat me into believing that there is always a second side to the coin.

What I am basically saying in this post is that all of you out there who haven’t understood that we’re falling behind… go check yourselves. We suck!!! The web is the future of communication. If you understand anything about how democracy and communication has built our societies to what they are today, you must understand how the change that is taking place has an effect upon the future.

//Jesper – wannabe Indian

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3 Comments
  • ira kaufman, March 26, 2010 Reply

    Jesper
    Great post . we need more people that think out of the box. Learning language opens up the crosscultural doors and thinking processes. Social media has allowed us to connect and learn from each other . Now we have the opportunity to weave our insights and bring forth new, more harmonious, innovation project and realities. Lets look for those opportunities.
    check out Gary Vaynerchuk: Do what you love (no excuses!) on TED --http://www.ted.com/talks/gary_vaynerchuk_do_what_you_love_no_excuses.html

    Ira

  • Jesper Astrom, March 28, 2010 Reply

    Hey Ira!

    Thnx, yes the opportunity we are missing out on when not exploring the things that are outside the normal boundaries of our imagination is truly devastating. I really hope the evangelists of school reform get their way as we are currently undergoing an information revolution. Knowledge, information and the access to it is no longer of value. It is nowadays commodity. Creativity and passion however, that is invaluable.

    //Jesper


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