15 May 2020

Education now and post pandemic

I am not too optimistic that post pandemic we’ll be returning back to “normal”. The irony of the Coronavirus is that this is first time since the creation of the “global” economy countries had to function as a real global economy. All of a sudden the global economy was tasked with supplying life or death equipment for healthcarers and the public in general.

The problem with education in all this is that education is very similar to the military infrastructure. They both cost a lot of money, the Return on Investment will take years to happen, and by the nature of knowledge it is in constant progress and evolution. Basically our victories depend on the weaknesses of the enemy.

Traditionally the seat of knowledge has always been universities and people had to go through the “system” to reach the high levels of academia and thus respect. But this model of education has been challenged recently. The most important challenge is that not only do we have far more sources of knowledge than ever before but for the first time we theoretically have the means to access all the knowledge we have today when we “want” to access it.

Another implication of knowledge is that many activities can be classified as bodies of knowledge. In other words, knowledge can be about something and how to do something. This implies that what we call education is not just for children or those who belong to institutions we call colleges, but rather education is a source for knowledge. In the past we had academia and apprenticeship. An apprentice is someone who knows how to do something through empirical knowledge and experience.

During this pandemic we have demonstrated that new technologies, such as the PC, mobile phones, tablets etc are robust for many information exchange purposes. It is enough to continue with the teaching process at all levels of the education process. But it is also true that many teachers (and business managers) have been inundated with the challenge and as a consequence they are overloading children and young adults with homework. Indeed today under the present circumstances people are afraid of the looking-busy-disease. We inherited this disease of having to look busy more as a defence against not seeming to have anything to do than any rational justification to be doing something.

Post pandemic we need to develop new management skills and these management skills have to cover two objectives: plan our objectives and plan not to waste time. Of course, piling loads of books and chapters from books and telling students to read them is not efficient nor being busy. I would argue that a sign of efficiency comes in two parts. The first is how to remember a particular piece of knowledge. Although learning is not about memory but about application. This means that we are going to be more dependent on machines.

Finally what the pandemic has also demonstrated is that we need a deep understanding of the scientific method and how to us this method. The lack of scientific awareness around us is an indictment of the failure of the political system that models the education system not necessarily in the interests learners and those engaged in furthering their knowledge.  

Best and take care

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Email: philomadrid@gmail.com

PhiloMadrid on Skype 6:30pm Sunday 17th May: Education now and post pandemic

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