What They Are Lacking
This post is a rant, so please don't read if you dislike ranting. :D
The original idea of education is supposed to be challenging people to achieve new knowledge. The goal of education institution are providing an environment where those people can be challenged well and having the necessary materials for them available. The materials should not be in the complete shave, it may be raws, and at some points it making the person improvised. Am I right?
When challenged well, a person can develop their imagination into many recurring steps and building knowledge over it to overcome common obsticles and infer new one. The person build knowledge blocks and from the existing blocks, another block is created. The beauty of education is the process of founding the right formula to have that process of creation.
The reason of formal education is to provide the right formula for such thinking process. That's why formal education endorsed inductive reasoning. The basic of this inductive reasoning is:
- Found a problem, is stated as background.
- What is the characteristics of the problem, e.g. the scope, the aspects, etc. By its characteristics, the person then may have a hint about what's going on.
- Find the right way to solve the problem based on the hypothesis, i.e. the methodology.
- Build the new knowledge from another proven knowledge. The person is grounding up from other's works and build his/her own assessment based on the known knowledge.
- Prove it and draw a conclusion of it.
By these process of thinking, the person is challenged with one thing: popular belief is not always right. The person starts to challenge many firm things (yeah, even religion too). But, this way of thinking is what creativity is all about. It's like reinventing the wheel, but the wheel is not the same and have better characteristics.
As I am an IT guy, let me take an example of such. Let's take a look of evolution of programming.
There was only a machine and people directly programmed their needs with bits of information. Then, as the machine gets better, abstraction comes and C language created as procedural paradigm. As people drawed more and more into computing, business logic need to be created and implemented well. To have such abstraction, a new approach is created: say hello to object paradigm, an approach to see the problem as objects.
While the two paradigm try to provide solution to help building a way to achieve objectives, yet another approach comes into play. It was based on the theory that a problem can be divided into smaller problems and the chunks also are built up of smaller problems until the small problem is a base/solvable in a generic way. Well, you get the idea, it is called functional programming and its method of divide and conquer is called recursive.
There is a solution but people don't just put their belief in that sole one. Instead, they challenge the idea itself and found another approach to have the work done. Sometimes, it's less efficient than the old one, but it provide level of abstraction based on people way of thinking.
In the end, it's all about problem solving. Plus, finding new gems and new things that was supposedly unthinkable. Welcome to creative world.
Now, what are the industry doing with education today? They want supplies of workers. Is there something wrong with it? No, but it's prohibitive if it also interfere the process of formal education like now. Many universities here are engrossed with "alumni ready to work" thing. Many graduates are filling the market with lack of formal methodology and infecting industry with uncreative thinking: lazy and conservative.
As Larry said, laziness is a virtue. But, if it's combined with conservative thought it bound industry to destruction. With no constructive effort of retaining the academy with building right thinking, the formal education fails to bring such creative people. Furthermore, the industry interfere with the definition of "competitive" in education. The industry are building their own neck rope!
Many years ago Indonesia was the market as well as production house for shoe. But what are they doing? The shoe maker playing conservative and lazy. It doesn't invest its time in developing their own solution, yet still making based on the order. When Indonesia struck down with problems and Vietnam provide better stability, the overseas go away. Even, some who stay now move their industry elsewhere because domestic production house couldn't provide their needs.
Is there a way of solving the problem? Unfortunately, no.
The problem is not about the company or other resource. The problem is because of the process of thinking which failed. Even if there are solutions, they will probably wouldn't grasp it, either because of their lack of knowledge or simply because of they won't.
Now, to some of you, readers, who challenge me with "too ideal is getting us nowhere" reason. Let me give you another example. This time, my world: IT company.
Back then, there was a big Indonesian IT company called Bali Camp. It was supplied with the best programmers. It was blessed with Indonesian market. It was a boomer but at certain it fails to get well. Why? Some said that they were ambitious or any excuses. But, what I see is because simply they didn't get the idea of a sustaining company.
And now, I challenge back to you, your IT company. How is it now? Slowly desecrated? Stagnant? Divided?
Again, it was because of the lack of formal education to build the right sense, not common sense or even nonsense. :D
They have deteriorating the term "competitive" with ready to work not with ready to survive. To survive means the company sustaining while gaining grounds, not just having an American dream. Yes, today's graduates also have the sense of surviving the company, yet they lack the ability to do so. Many just wants to get better jobs instead of challenging their ability to outperform.
The desire to have better ability is the way of creative thinking and it needs to be seeded right from the beginning. It should be nurtured from roots into higher formal education. It is a crime to only provide text book without providing tools to demonstrate. It makes the formal education a crap! No wonder people would take notice some take actions like neglecting the formal education.
Let's think with a way child of elementary school think.
Parents keep sending us to school just to find old geezer saying some demonic mantra which we didn't even know. Oh, no! So many useles tasks we have to do. Ah, so much stress! Fortunately, I have my PSP! Look guys, lets play. Oh, sh*t! My parents take my PSP away because I'm failing at enchanting those mantra. Damn! Sh*t! F*ck!
And enter the emo world.
But, what if the educators provide also tools. Oh, did I say educators? Yes! It means you, parents also.
Cool, my teacher can make water cannon with bottle. Uh, oh, we are taught to do it and we have the privilege to compete. Hmm... my water cannon in third. Ah, need to work it out, still my water cannon have the most advance projectiles. Anyway, my parents bring me to the Fatahillah Museum. It was awesome, dude! At first creepy, but when they tell the story, it's uber story!
When a person confrontated with new things, the creative process of thinking taking place. With high morale in learning (learning motivation), the person experiment it furthermore producing aptitudes. With high aptitute, then the person solve it and improved significantly.
So, when people in education avoiding creating new approach, what would it gains?
Many years back, I realized that Free/Open Source Software (FOSS) is the best next thing. It was built by the academics and have the spirit of academics. It was started as sharing knowledge with others and improved. Sadly, many didn't realize and even resistance was built against it. If at that time my friends would understand, we may have been in a level where are also the early adopters and make contributions. Now, the (sadly only overseas) industry are also behind all big FOSS projects because it share the common idea.
Nothing about the FOSS movement that I want to rant, it's another thing. I want to suggest people to endorse FOSS to their children. It is not a great tool to do something, but a great environment to develop creativity. It is not bundled, but it let you have the things you need. It let you think what you have to do to achieve the solution. Of course, it has a steep learning curve, so does the formal education. It let you have many years just to have your degree. But, as always, investment is not a cheap one but the result justify.
Now, the other thing that needs to be built is the interpersonal communication skill. This is important and it was the things that lack years of education. I still have friends who can't say what he wants and make him/her performing low. Even worse, I still manage to find people who don't let other people says something constructive.
Educators, let them talks and your job is to provide the right information and share your knowledge and disagree well. It is a good practice to say "I don't know" in some information that you really don't know and suggest them to try to find the answer together with you. Furthermore, you can even practice assertiveness.
And parents, stop giving them excessive extra lessons! They need to socialized and have decent family time, and you too.
With the right environment, people can build a better way of thinking. Providing better tools and better communication skills is the right environment to do so. With the right way of thinking, sustaining the economy and the nation is an easy task. In the end, it can achieve the dreams.
Anyway, congrats to you who manage to read without skimming, nor pertamax. I have tried my best to keep this not lenghty. Comments?
I'm sorry I'm not quoting well. I don't take Maslow and stuff because this is supposed to be a rant not a paper. Well, you can make a paper yourself, it's CC anyway. :D