Are formal schools necessary?

The schools, where students assemble every morning and go through the day — hour after hour — learning new facts. Is this necessary or even efficient.

The answer probably is — it might not be the most efficient use of a student’s time.

Instead of this century old method, I think we need to rethink the way we educate our children. This is especially important in countries like India, where there is critical lack of infrastructure and there are not that many teachers to teach all the students that are coming into these schools.

We need a new approach to education — one that expands the student’s thought process while allowing them to master the basic subjects.

The most ideal way would be a concept of open classroom, key tenets of such learning would be:

  • Student will have all the learning materials on a study tablet (Android or Apple), the main content would be hyperlinked to other relevant content on the internet. The student would follow their natural curiosity and can quickly proceed from beginner levels to very advanced levels. It exposes the student to various subjects, which in the long run helps them figure out what to do with their life.
  • Use physical demonstrations wherever possible. Watching real life experiments demonstrates relevance to all the facts that are taught in a classroom. These physical experiments should be prepared ahead of time, and would be very similar to how a teacher would prepare a classroom lecture. These rehearsed experiments will illustrate complex concepts in action. Explaining newton’s laws on physics with an experiment would leave a lasting mark on student’s in student’s mind.
  • Finally, replace exams with open ended essays. This allows the student to approach the answer from several angles and allows the student to demonstrate their thought process. The object of learning is not to remember facts, today’s computers can do this function better than any human being. The student has to demonstrate how they arrived at a conclusion based on particular premise set.
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