Years ago I taught Postmodern Studies at the University of Western Sydney. It covered a whole lot of basic theory – but also focused on creativity as a discipline. We got a great deal of push-back from the students who felt that the course was not practical enough and not focused on helping them get a job. Yet despite these protestations, many found the course difficult, challenging – and a lot of work. It was. It was meant to be. It wasn’t about training – it was about education. It was designed to enable students to LEARN.
A couple of years later I was working at IBM and hiring a large number of new graduates into my team. I was looking for spark, creativity, imagination and problem solving. I had plenty of jobs open and a willingness to train an eager employee. But I found it hard. Hard to find people who didn’t need to be spoon fed. Hard to find people willing to work hard and learn fast. Hard to find people who could step beyond TALKING and get to the hard task of DOING.
You see, the systems of education were not conducive to the type of employee that I needed. And the user pays system seemed to have bred a sense of entitlement rather than a curiosity for learning. Many graduates find the transition from study to work very confronting – there are professional responsibilities, rock-hard deadlines and a raft of rules, restrictions and expectations that are sometimes unspoken. What we need is to look again at our education systems and think about the type of citizenry we want and NEED into 2050. We need to prepare AND challenge our students, teachers and the systems within which they operate. And we need to do it now. We need what Denise Caron calls an Education Revolution.