Okay world, it's time to have a talk.
What is it with this wave of anti-intellectualism? Really. Why is it that conservatives across the globe have suddenly decided that education is the perfect place to cut from in order to make small savings to government expenses now. Great, savings. A few hundred thousand euros away from an already underfunded and extremely important part of our society, in return for... what? Defunding schools only works to take away from a future generation, and limits growth in the future, crumbling the basis of our wider economic stability a few decades from now - all in the name of not going that extra hundred thousand euros into national debt this year. Is that really worth it?
While we're talking about education, let's talk about school systems too. Why is it that commercial school systems should be brought over everywhere? Tuition fees and ever larger school corporations? At some point that is going to end up blowing up on our faces when these school conglomerations decide to put money before the service they provide. that's already happening in the United States, and to a lesser extent in the United Kingdom. How is this a good idea? How was this a good idea ever? Was this another decision made to save the government a few hundred thousand in upkeep fees? Urgh...
A couple of years ago during a New Year's celebration, I was sitting around with my fiancée's aunt, and the conversation leaned towards the Finnish school system. There are a lot of teachers in the extended family, and many others work in schools doing office work. It is very strange to discuss it with someone who only knows the Finnish school system from all the reports and studies "proving" that Finland's system is one of the best because hey, look at the students scoring well. Okay, the system may be good, but that's probably mostly thanks to good and dedicated teachers, as well as regimented school days. The system itself is old, inflexible, and keeps growing more and more strapped for cash, which also meaks it grows more and more outdated. One way or another, it needs to change. It needs to adopt modern technology, and modern teaching methods.
I'll be the first one to admit that I didn't care much for school. I love to learn, but the education system itself felt more constricting than anything else. After the foundation was laid down, everything started to feel more and more like they were walls being built around me. I understand the need for hard sciences and even languages, even in cases where I disliked or didn't enjoy them as subjects, and they should of course be taught in a regimented and stable way. But outside of those, I cannot understand it.
Why teach history based on numbers and locations, instead of broadening the horizon? Why teach analytical facts about religions and cultures and refuse to debate them so students might better internalize the knowledge being gained? Why rely on a single official set of books throughout the entire course of education, instead of teaching critical thinking from the very beginning? I know the answer. The answer is money, time, and the fact that the system still works. If a system is working so well as to gain praise from global studies, then surely the system must not be broken, right? Well, at some point someone has to start looking forwards, so those who enjoy learning don't have to default to becoming autodidacts on top of everything they learn in school.
I didn't learn the English language in school. I had classes for it, but I was constantly several years ahead. That's because I went out there, used modern technology and found the Internet. With the most basic understanding of the language, I forced open my horizon and strove out, and now I strive to make it into a profession. This road needs to be lauded as a path open to students, and schools must learn to utilize the modern global network.
There is no going back to dusty books, and the technology at our fingertips means students must learn critical thinking. Just because the coming of a new age rustles your image of the world doesn't mean you get to attack the school system and defund it, it means you must be responsible and help evolve it. For the sake of our race, and for the sake of the generations that follow us.