In a previous article post, titled “THE ROLE OF EDUCATION IN NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT” we explained what education is: from the old days, till present. Today, we shall have a discourse on “the future of schools and education in our twenty-first century” world. Beyond any reasonable doubt, we understand that a lot of things have changed, and/or are changing with the many advances that we have in technology, internet and media today. In fact, we have been said to be undergoing the fourth industrial revolution. Ranging from healthcare, agriculture, manufacturing, to schooling; what used to work some few decades ago, no longer works in today’s technology-driven society. To this end, there is a need for us to reassess our motives and motivations, methods and methodologies for achieving results in every field of our endeavours, including schooling and education.
I. What is Schooling?
II. What connects School to Education?
III. Redefining the Objectives of Schooling and Education
IV. Knowledge: The Product of Learning and Education
IV. Acquiring Knowledge: Active and Passive Learning
V. Motives Driven Learning: Motivating Factors for Learning
VI. Purposeful Education: Challenges, Aims and Benefits
VII. Wrapping Up: In Conclusion
What is Schooling?
To begin with, we shall define School, and how it relates with education.
A generally acceptable definition of school is a place where people learn. 1School is defined as an educational institution designed to provide learning spaces and learning environments for the teaching of students or pupils under the direction of their teachers. School is essentially established for students to gain knowledge, and acquire skills. It could be defined also as an organization established for the pursuit of knowledge. Hence, schooling involves enrolment in a school (educational institute) for the purpose of learning. However, it must be noted that learning is not to be restricted to ‘Academic learning’ alone. This explains why we have schools of music, performance arts, theology, fashion, as well as technical and vocational schools among others.
What connects School to Education?
Education as opposed to schooling, can be defined as the means of action or process that facilitates learning. Obviously, it directly involves learning. However, it does not really have to do with a particular location, unlike school. A learned person is thus, an educated person.
Schools provides us the infrastructures for learning. Thus, we can identify the link between school and education.
What connects school to education is learning. As we know, the central objective of school is learning. The output of learning is acquired-knowledge. This, distinguishes between the educated and illiterates. It is the factor of learning and acquired-knowledge that brings the gap/divide between the learned and the unlearned, in the society.
Redefining the Objectives of Schooling and Education
One major opportunity which education affords is access to white-collar jobs, better housing, and comfortable living among others. The reality though, is that this opportunity is becoming less realistic in many struggling economies in the world. Today, lots of graduates in these countries compete for limited available jobs in the midst of poor infrastructures and outdated systems. For this reason, many have begun to doubt the essence of schooling and education.
On this note, there is a need to redefine the objectives and goals of schools in our 21st century. Every individual, parent, guardian, teacher/lecturer, educator, community leader and all other stakeholders in the education sector must realize that the essence of schooling and education far supersedes getting white-collar jobs, better housing, or earning comfortable living.
Redefining the objectives and goal of schools in this 21st century requires a thorough rethink of what learning is. For many students, they study solely for the purpose of earning good grades, with little or no attention given to active, in-depth conceptual comprehension and practical understanding. The society can only be better off, when emphasis is placed on active learning and every misconception on the essence of education and schooling is properly corrected.
Acquiring Knowledge: Active and Passive Learning
Knowledge gained is an essential product in every learning endeavour. However, knowledge could be acquired in various ways; including active and passive learning. 2Passive learning involves listening or hearing someone speaking or teaching with no attempt to contribute to the process either through reasoning, or critiqing transferred ideas. On the other hand, Active learning requires students’ active participation in a learning process. 3This involves critiqing and contributing ideas, as well as engaging in hands on labs, practical projects, group problems, peer instructions among other activities that enables learners to be actively engaged in the learning process. Oftentimes, active learning is usually encouraged among educators for its obvious benefits. However, it is important to note that both active and passive learning can be used to the learner’s advantage, depending on the curriculum contents, context and conditions of learning. Active and passive learning helps to achieve the goal of learning – acquiring knowledge.
Right and Wrong Motives for Learning
For the goal of learning to be achieved, then the motive of learning must be set right. A learner with a right motive for learning, can be sure that they will not only acquire knowledge but also gain the capacity to apply such knowledge in required practical or real-life scenarios; with a confidence of achieving results. Futhermore, having right mindset to learning will enable the learner to brace-up various obstacles and challenges such as difficulty in comprehending technical materials, unconducive learning conditions, among others; on the learner’s pathway. However, a wrong motive for learning will limit the amount of knowledge acquired, and lead to an abuse of ample resources devoted to the learning process. Similarly, it limits learners’ performance and also results into half-baked students. Hence, learners must endeavour to develop an open and a right mindset towards learning, to leverage the challenges and opportunities unique to the technology-driven 21st century.
Motives Driven Learning: Motivating Factors for Learning
a. Need Driven Learning: Here, a learner (and/or teacher) visualizes a need or problem, and then develops a passion towards the identified need. Such passion can drive the learner to be deliberate in the search for knowledge required in solving an identified problem. This helps the learner to remain motivated throughout the learning process, with a focus on solving a particular problem or meeting an identified need, as the case may be.
b. Impact Driven Learning: in this case, a learner learns with a desire to make an impact. This can be linked in a way, with need driven learning. The truth is, solving problems or meeting needs in the society is a level of impact making. Learning for impact is thus, another motivating factor to learn. Someone with a desire to make impact will readily go extra-miles to learn and acquire knowledge towards making the world a better place.
c. Curiosity Driven Learning: These learners are curious for knowledge. They are always eager to find answers to the questions in their mind. Developing a curious mindset towards learning helps learners consolidate indepth-understanding of previously existing knowledge-areas, and frontier novel ideas and discoveries in unchartted territories of human endeavours. Curious driven learning motivates learners to ask the right questions.
d. Sustenance Driven Learning: Another factor that could drive someone to learn is hunger for sustenance. Here, sustenance describes a learner’s sense for survival either in the midst of a competitive environment or as a result of a disadvantaged background. Such learners are keen on gaining at least, the minimum knowledge required to sustain a living. The learner is motivated to keep learning until he is able to handle the emptiness within and around.
e. Freedom Driven Learning: Here, the learner sees little or no reason to learn. There is no desire for impact making, neither is any need or problem identified. The learner is not curious and feels no hunger for sustenance. Most likely, learning is only taking place for learning sake as there are no reasons compelling enough to learn. Hence, the learner is not motivated be active in learning. Pursuit of knowledge for a freedom driven learner is aimless.
Purposeful Education: Challenges, Aims and Benefits
Without doubts, the benefits of education to individuals and society cannot be over-emphasized. Yet, these can be so easily muddled up, painting education as an expensive, time wasting and needless endeavour. This is especially true where archaic education systems meets ‘profit-driven’ educational organisations; leading to declining educational standards and degrade in the living standard of people in a given society.
Notwithstanding the challenges, True education aims at two things. First, providing knowledge, and secondly, utilizing the knowledge in solving problems in the society. Education must be targetted towards making ends meet, by sourcing knowledge that caters real challenges in a technology-driven 21st century. While an educational institute might be required to make profit for its solvency, yet it must not make that its top-most priority. Rather, it must aim towards solving problems in the real-world by helping people acquire knowledge in the best possible way. Such solution-driven education systems would easily be self-sustaining, productive as well as profitable for every educational stakeholders; creating a win-win for everyone.
There is an urgent need to adequately sensitize the general public on the future of education and schools in the present day 21st century. More importantly, every 4stakeholder in the education sector must be continously enlightened on the dynamics of running a truly purposeful, productive and profitable education system leveraged on crucial 21st century technological advancements. This way, expectations that have been previously disappointed over education can again be turned into fulfilled desires giving people better earning opportunities in white collar jobs, better housing, and improved conditions of living in the general society. Here, passion plays an important role for any learner to achieve their goal of learning.
Adopting solution-driven education systems does not necessarily imply solving big societal problems alone. Rather, it can be as simple as enabling learners to acquire knowledge which can be in turn used to create values. Value is any activity, product or service that meets needs in any society. As such, learners should be more focussed on creating values. The idea is that, anytime value is created anywhere, people will gladly part with their substance (money, gifts or other valuables) in exchange for the purchase of “Value.”
In subsequent article posts, we shall look more critically into the subject of creating value, as well as other interesting topics including the future of work and career in the 21st century world. Thanks for reading.
4. Stakeholders in the education sector include: All educators, parents and guardians, teachers, learners and students, governments, etc.