Aim and purpose of Education in the Future

10-Apr-2018

"The finest ideal for a generation is to strive that the generation that follows it may be able to live and enjoy more beauty and more happiness; it is to reduce the causes of misunderstanding, stupid prejudices, unnecessary suffering, useless conflicts. This is the ideal of education.  Without it the very purpose of man's existence vanish. If there were not the child to bring up, protect, to teach, and to transform into the man of tomorrow, the man of today would be meaningless and could disappear. The child is the future. We shape him for the future." (Ovide Decroly)

How much of the future can we predict? Can we at least predict the future of education?

Over millennia, scientists and innovators have tried to create for something that was ahead of their times. Every product or invention made by humans, has been born out their pursuit to build something that is future-ready.

While History continues to be an inescapable subject for all school students, it is mostly restricted to the history of war and battle. Young minds are exposed to the grim realities of bloodshed and mindless killing, instead of being made to explore the backstories of art, music, dance, inventions or literature. It is only when they enter college that they are allowed to choose subjects they are passionate about.

Strangely, no one teaches them to study for the Future.

In the last two decades the imparting of education has undergone mind-boggling changes. From blackboards to virtual classrooms, from handwritten notes and multiple textbooks to using tablets and laptops - everything is technology driven. Google has become a surrogate teacher instead of just being a search engine.

In fact, the textbook market is already on a worldwide decline as more and more material is available online. Students are now using material sourced from the internet rather than approaching faculty or using physical libraries.

Around the world, some very incredible developments are taking place that one should be aware of, in order to keep the question alive - can we predict the future of education?

MOOCS, i.e Massive Open Online Courses use Artificial Intelligence to teach. IBM's Watson, a computer system capable of answering questions posed in a natural language, is already being trained to answer call centre queries.

Heather Knight, a PhD student attended drama classes, and is now training her robots to express human emotions. Robots are being designed to simulate kindness and caring better than humans. The proof is that the Japanese 'companion robot' Pepper was sold out within a minute of its launch.

In a recent article on an education website, various educationists shared their thoughts on what the future of academics will be like, 15-20 years down the line and varied perspectives surfaced. While some scholars believe that there may be no one to teach because all the professional jobs will be done by intelligent machines, other believe that human teachers will always be around and be needed. There is a singular concern in either scenario - can students cope with life's challenges when artificial intelligence replaces the human connection?

One can never be sure how quickly we will witness yet another revolution in technology and eventually our education systems. So the time is ripe to ask new questions - like can we predict the future of students in a virtual world and is too much happening too fast?

The school should always have as its aim that the young man leave it as a harmonious personality, not as a specialist. The development of general ability for independent thinking and judgment should always be placed foremost."(Albert Einstein. Out of my Later Years New York: Philosophical Library, l960)