Education for the 21st century
What is education? The Oxford English dictionary defines it as “The process of receiving or giving systematic instruction, especially at a school or university”. Well in a day and age when schools and universities were the only source of knowledge and skill building this definition probably holds true. Get past this and you come to the obvious next question — what is the purpose of education? Aristotle, the great thinker and philosopher, described the aim of education to be “the welfare of individuals so as to bring happiness in their lives”.
But in the years since Aristotle, the purpose of education has evolved significantly. Slowly but steadily, welfare was judged more on the basis of one’s occupation, trade, and his or her source of income. Principles that were strongly embedded in the awareness, understanding and well being of ones surrounding are today dictated by industries, factories, multi national companies and corporation. Education thus unequivocally evolved as a route to serve the interests of these establishments and less about the wellbeing of the individual. While these establishment helped individuals amass a monthly wage and a feeling of purpose through their strategically designed organisational charts and designations, they also effectively disconnected out generation from the true source of our riches — the earth itself. Today mankind is willing to overlook the irreversible damages that we are inflicting upon the environment in the name of development and well being of the human race.
Thankfully, organisations around the world are slowly awakening to the effects of this oversight. Sustainable development thus has become the theme for this generation. Nations around the world are coming together to develop cleaner, more effective and less resource intensive ways to overcome the needs of the human race. Today, we as a generation have been presented with the unique opportunity to redefine the priorities of the human race. Global scientific research has provided empirical evidence to support the need to move towards a more sustainable way of living. The opposite outcome being that the very existence of our race will be in jeopardy if we do not take the required steps to contain it.
Now let’s go back to the question — what is the purpose of education? In the wake of humanity’s current challenges — can we as a generation redefine what education means to us? How do you attain this while ensuring that the economics that regulate the global markets are not gravely disrupted? Ensuring that children are not disconnected from the global market place and are equipped sufficiently with the knowledge, skills and understandings that will help them navigate the 21st century and its challenges.
The global education system is in dire need today for a change in teaching-learning methods, pedagogy, curriculum, standards and learning resources and outcomes. The traditional input oriented learning methods no longer effectively address the needs and priorities of our generation. Stakeholders like the United Nations and other major development agencies have today identified ‘Sustainable Development Education’ as a key area of intervention to address major global challenges including climate change, poverty, education and gender equality. Schools, colleges and educational institutions can no longer be the only source of learning for our children.
Education needs to integrate itself with daily life to fully use the resources at a child’s disposal and enable him/her to Create, Innovate and Inspire at every step.
It is with this intend that we at Skillinabox have designed and developed our unique range of DIY training kits which empower children to take charge of their own learning. It allows them to create a technology enabled classroom from the convenience of their homes that can help them address challenges in their surroundings. From building their own sustainable lighting solutions to designing solar panels capable of powering their devices, our kits deliver a wide array of skill sets to children that help them develop cognitive abilities and theoretical knowhow to address day to day problems. Our unique training delivery ensures that learning outcomes transcend the theoretical and manifest as physical products and solutions that the child can deploy in his/her surroundings. Each outcome is designed keeping in mind global sustainable development priorities including energy access, renewable energy, inclusive education and much more.
We at Skillinabox aspire to put our children back in touch with their surroundings and empower them to take ownership of a safe and sustainable future.