The case for optional education, and the eradication of exams
Most of the stuff they study in school is completely useless. But some incredibly valuable things you don’t learn until you’re older – yet you could learn them when you’re younger. And you start to think, “What would I do if I set a curriculum for a school?”
God, how exciting that could be! But you can’t do it today. You’d be crazy to work in a school today. You don’t get to do what you want. You don’t get to pick your books, your curriculum. You get to teach one narrow specialization. Who would ever want to do that?
– Steve Jobs
I have to say, I totally agree with this. In school, way too much emphasis is put on passing your exams. So much so, that after stuffing all of this overpowering information in your brain, then unleashing it in your exams, you feel as if you don’t really need it any more, and you forget most of what you learned within a year or so.
The pressure is so much that we always have a negative attitude towards school, and education in general. This attitude means that you will only do work if you have to. Since I left school, I found a hunger for knowledge, and I feel like I’ve learned more from my own free-will, then from when the education system was force-feeding what they want me to know.
So what is the problem here? I personally think curriculum bureaucracy is the root of all these problems. If I were to set the curriculum, as Jobs suggested, I would completely get rid of exams. I would make school optional. Kids would come in to school. I mean I know I would rather go to school and see all my friends than stay at home all day. Okay, when this system is introduced there would be a problem with a large amount of people bunking off, but that number will die down quickly when the kids start to realize that they want to learn. And they will.
Too many schools, especially in my area, are made to feel like prisons. That’s not what a school is. Way back when Jesus taught his followers, they didn’t come because Jesus forced them to. They came because they were interested. By forcing kids into school without a choice we are taking their interest for learning, and saying “I don’t care about your interest for learning, because we’re going to force you to learn anyway.”