Let’s make a very random list of transformational technologies introduced in our lifetime :
Smartphones and cellphones (example: A iphone or a BlackBerry)
Portable computing ( example : a dell laptop, an ipad or a Mac)
The internet available EVERYWHERE (on your phone,laptop,anytime)
Retail DNA Tests
Potable music players (ipod, cheap mp3 players)
Good cheap digital cameras.
AbioCor Artificial Heart
NASA’s Ares Rockets
Recently I downloaded and installed an app on my iphone call ‘Evernote’.
Guess what Evernotes’ tagline is ? “REMEMBER EVERYTHING”
It’s a fantastic tool to capture anything that I deem important or worth remembering.
As a user I must admit it BLOWS me away with the hint of what it is truly capable of.
Yet why is the educational system here still pretending, in 2011 A.D, that the most important trait in a good student is the ability to REMEMBER facts and trivia ?!? Almost like all those 13 items mentioned above happened in Pandora to the Na’vis ?
Is life one long quiz show ? When was it anyway ?
In a world with Wikipedia, SIRI, 100 rupees unlimited gprs plan, wolfram, cheap 500 GB Hard drives and even cheaper laptops why is that THE MOST IMPORTANT SKILL deemed to be emulation and reward worthy by the educational system Memory ?
Entrants into the corporate world are till date admitted only on having the necessary ‘qualification’ (an MBA degree, a bachelors) but this qualificatin is mostly just an official ratification of the fact that the individual in question has the demonstrated ability to retain outdated google’able information for the minimal necessary period of time (mostly from the night before the exam till the end of the test the day after).
We need to wake up and realize Education should not be time travel (“Lets all pretend we are in 1967 and you will all be working in a govt department in 1971“)
When we bemoan the lack of enough good managers and leaders in the corporate world or the absence of enough innovation and creativity in the workplace, maybe we all need to step back and understand that the bouncers at the club entrance (HR?) are just checking for good elephants and letting them in. On the flip side, most of the acedemic front benchers are asking themselves “I was so good at getting high marks in school and being the teacher’s pet. Why am I not catapulting up the corporate ladder?” The answer, of course, is that most of getting what you want at work is about having social skills, and school doesn’t measure that.
When you, the valuable customer, hang up after that very frustrating call with the idiot customer service rep who seemed incapable of either empathy or wit to sort the issue , do remember the system only needed to know she could remember the date Babur invaded India to give her the necessary qualifying degree to jump into the workforce and answer your call.