Today I have a question for you, what is the real point of education?
Bill Gates emphasizes “work-related learning, arguing that education investment should be aimed at academic disciplines and departments that are “well-correlated to areas that actually produce jobs.””
Steve Jobs says, “It’s in Apple’s DNA that technology alone is not enough — it’s technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields us the result that makes our heart sing…”
So is the end goal of education to provide the knowledge, skills and tools to work or to teach critical thinking.
The choice is likely to be described as pragmatic and based on available funding.
Years ago a successful business executive I know commented that if people had full bellies, a job and a bit left over to see a movie now and then at the time of the election, then the party in power would be reelected, but if the reverse was happening they would “throw the bums out.”
There are more sinister reasons to find a positive way to avoid graduating legions of critical thinkers.
- Non-thinkers don’t make waves.
- Non-thinkers follow the pack.
- Non-thinkers are easier to control.
- Thinkers are more creative and innovative.
- Thinkers are more likely to reject ideology.
- Thinkers are more willing to take risks.
You have only to look at what is going on in the world to see the effects of an empty belly and education, formal or not, grounded in questions, not answers.
What do you think?
Flickr image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jeanlouis_zimmermann/3042615083/