The Polymath School | History of Education
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History of Education


ur current education system was developed during the industrialization era. Most of the jobs during this period were assembly-line factory jobs – where workers had to repeatedly perform a narrow set of pre-defined tasks.


The history of education system itself was designed as a mass production system, supplying scores of students with a basic understanding of the “3Rs” (reading, writing and arithmetic) and the capacity to receive and perform basic instructions – making them ideal as factory workers. Since content was expensive and not easily available, a lot of emphasis was placed on rote memorization of facts.


The world that we live in today is starkly different from that of the 20th century. Content is ubiquitous and free, routine and advanced tasks are being automated, top-down structures are being replaced by flat structures of project-based teams and technological breakthroughs are changing every aspect of our life.


Our education has to come up to speed with these realities. Mastery of the “3Rs” is no longer enough, nor is the superficial recollection of facts. What is needed is deeper learning of content through its application in solving real-life issues. Also, content knowledge needs to be complemented with purposeful development of critical skills (problem solving, creativity, communication, collaboration) and universal human values (empathy, positivity, equanimity, ethic of excellence).