“After our industrialisation and our globalisation, we’ve now ended up in a new kind of society, in which the new powers and the new economy mainly depend on new technology. Which, moreover, keeps changing constantly and rapidly.”
“What this means for education remains to be seen. Any attempt to get on board with it is soon made obsolete by newer developments again. That makes it hard to tell what kinds of jobs we should be preparing the current generation of students for.”
Back to basics
“That’s why it’s very important to go back to the essence of all education: a younger person, open to the future, being helped along by someone more knowledgeable and experienced. That’s not going to be different. The way in which that interaction happens may change, though.”
“While right now, education is still often just about teaching certain facts and skills in a sort of assembly line system – you learn something, you take a test, you pass it, you move on to the next course, or you fail it and do the same course again – it seems a better idea to teach students how to learn, and most of all: to teach them to love learning new things, so they’ll know how to get on top of new things in a constantly changing world. And ideally that should be done partly with the latest technology and partly without it: it’s essential to know, experience and understand both worlds.”
“Since the range of educational options keeps expanding, it’s also important for children to learn how to make decisions. Developing personal leadership hardly gets any attention yet at all, even though it’s going to be all about that later: you’re an individual who has to get by on your own.”
To a lot of children, school is currently mostly a place to learn what you aren’t any good at.
“That also requires new constructions within education itself. For example, why do universities still all have the same faculties they had a hundred years ago? The doctors of the future might be people who studied medicine and know a lot about technology, but they might as well be engineers who know a lot about the human body. That’s where we’re going.”
A love for learning
“The current system doesn’t benefit our brains either. We’re teaching students the wrong things at the wrong moment. Young adults go to bed late and like to sleep in, but they’re expected to go to classes early in the morning. A lot of them don’t. Why don’t we arrange that differently?”
“And young children are basically open to anything, so primary school is the ideal place to foster a love for learning. But to a lot of children, school is currently mostly a place to learn what you aren’t any good at. And it’s a place where you’ll be judged for your scores and your ability to conform. That’s a very quick way to snuff out natural curiosity.”
“Basic skills are essential, of course, but I think school should be a place where 90% of the time, you get to do what you enjoy. It should be a system that appreciates gaining experience, going through processes, and – most of all – daring to try new things and do something else, rather than standardised results. I think that would be the future.”
Interview by Deirdre Enthoven.