Thought and Ideas
The best education for your children
Posted Sunday, February 10 2013 at 02:00
Outdated info. No matter which school in the world one takes one’s children, the speed at which the 21st Century is unfolding means that whatever they are taught will be outdated within six months.
In Uganda there are annual rituals of P.L.E, O’Level and A’Level exam results being released by the Uganda National Examinations Board, as well as university graduations.
The prominent front-page space given to “P.L.E stars” or the top-performing schools in the Ugandan media, is a commentary on what kinds of people run Uganda’s media and a reminder of the lethargic and exasperating nature of Ugandan society.
Clearly as the Ugandan news media, the government, the schools and parents, we don’t know what we are doing.
Most of us, and perhaps the rest of the world too, still think in terms of a fixed world as it was before the 1990s. You saved money, sent your children to the best possible school within your means and hoped that this “good school” and the child reading hard at school would guarantee their future success.
Then came the 21st Century.
What is the point in spending so much money on school education for our children or in celebrating a first grade or a AAAA score in UNEB exams that one sat in November, when by February when the results are announced, all that information that one read for and passed in November is already obsolete?
What is the point in celebrating a First Class or Upper Second university degree (as much as achievement as that is), when within seven months of the graduation ceremony, the content of that degree has already expired and within a year is irrelevant?
At first came the Internet into general global use in 1994.
Suddenly the world moved from a certain, fixed, slow-moving age into one in which we were assaulted by information.
Alongside this came rapid changes in digital and electronic technology so fast that they are now more than even the best of the world’s best can cope with.
This is why when one listens to or reads business news, every major company seems to be in trouble these days. Not because of incompetent management or poor products but because even for the best of the best, nothing is enough these days to satisfy the market for longer than a few months.
The best example of this continuous up-and-down is Apple. Nobody would have dreamed even six months ago that any question could be raised about this, the world’s most valued company by market capitalisation.
But now there are concerns among financial analysts that Apple’s best-selling iPhone 5 and iPad electronic tablet might either be at their peak, with the only way to go being down, or that these two products will have to struggle for market share in a global smart phone and tablet computer market that is one of the most competitive of any in the world and which is seeing an increasing number of brands targeting an already over-saturated market.
No matter which school in the world one takes one’s children, the speed at which the 21st Century is unfolding means that whatever they are taught will be outdated within six months.
Whether you enroll at Harvard University or Oxford University, at best the textbooks they use for instruction will have been published in the previous year and with this dizzying speed of change, anything that is one year old is already obsolete.
You don’t check your email for two weeks and the next time you open it there is so much of it, it takes a day to read it all.
Cameras that had 10 megapixels in 2007 were quite good for the average user. By 2009, they had gone up to 12 megapixels. In 2010, many cameras now came with 14.2 megapixels, in 2011 it was now becoming 16 megapixels.
By 2014, 24 megapixels will start looking like a basic entry camera.
The training manual I am trying to develop hopes to address this question of education in the 21st Century Internet and information age.
What does a child or a young professional need to know in a world of constant rapid change and a flood of information, more than the ordinary human being can cope with?
The first fact is that no matter who we are, in what field we are trained or what profession we work at, the further we get into the 21st Century the more we shall be writing.