The economy has changed, probably forever.School hasn’t.
School was invented to create a constant stream of compliant factory workers to the growing businesses of the 1900s. It continues to do an excellent job at achieving this goal, but it’s not a goal we need to achieve any longer.
So, as we look into the future from where we sit now, it is as hard for us to predict the future as it was for the architects of the 19th century to predict the world that we now live in. But if we are resilient, and if we invest in and believe properly in our true creative powers, if we apply them in all our educational settings, then we will begin to shape a different type of future for everybody.
Education, in the end, is about people; it’s about individuals, it’s about their hopes and aspirations; it’s about their talents and their abilities and their passions. So, at the root of my call for a revolution is the need to personalise education; and I say it because, particularly over the last 10 or 15 years, education has in a way become more and more impersonal. The more that the governments have driven to standardise education, the more they have driven education towards a narrow view of conformity, the less personal it has become. So, the root of the revolution, to me, is the need to reverse our priorities and focus on the students and the teachers.
Every country on earth at the moment is reforming public education. There are two reasons for it. The first of them is economic. People are trying to work out, how do we educate our children to take their place in the economies of the 21st century. How do we do that?
I meet all kinds of people who don’t enjoy what they do. They simply go through their lives getting on with it. They get no great pleasure from what they do. They endure it, rather than enjoy it, and wait for the weekend. But I also meet people who love what they do and couldn’t imagine doing anything else. Because it isn’t what they do, it’s who they are.
If you think of it, children starting school this year will be retiring in 2065. Nobody has a clue, despite all the expertise that’s been on parade for the past four days, what the world will look like in five years’ time. And yet we’re meant to be educating them for it.
So the unpredictability, I think, is extraordinary.