"The basics in education are not a group of subjects. The basics in education are fundamental purposes..There are three basics, as I see it … not in particular order of priority; though I have a reason for putting them in this sequence.
The first one is economic.
Education has powerful roles in economic growth, development and sustainability, and any conversation about education that doesn’t take account of the economy is really, in some respects, detached and naïve from the world that we live in. The problem is that the economies that we are now generating around the world are quite unlike the economies in which people, certainly of my generation, grew up in; and completely unlike the ones in which public education was conceived. The economies of 21st century demand that we develop our skills of creativity and innovation, and the great multiplicity of human talents. Our education systems don’t do that. So, one of the reasons for a revolution is to meet economic purposes.
But the second is cultural.
Education has fundamental roles in enabling our students, of whatever age they happen to be, to understand their own cultural backgrounds; their own histories and traditions, their own identity and what shaped and formed it. But, it has equal responsibilities to encourage them to understand other people's cultures. The great challenges that we face on the planet just now are partly environmental; but they are also partly cultural. The great conflicts around the world are borne out of cultural mistrust and misunderstanding. So, the cultural roles of education are fundamental. And that has real implications for the curriculum.
But, the third, and I come to it last because it’s, to me, the bridge into everything that matters to me in education, as we start to build for the future.
The third of them is personal.
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. A lot of people are dropping out of education; a lot of people are staying in but detaching from it; and they all have personal reasons for doing that. Education is not a mechanistic process; it is a process that depends upon the imaginations and interests of students being properly engaged. 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."
Sir Ken Robinson is an internationally recognized leader in the development of creativity, innovation and human resources in education and in business.
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