Dear Educators, I Present to You the Ugly Truth of Our Enlightenment Period-Based Education System

March 05, 2014 / by / 0 Comment

Warning. This may be a rather grim article about our current “education”.

We all have our days where we moan, internally scream and actually shout at education. You’re not alone. In fact, it’s perfectly normal and, pray thee, I urge you to continue doing so with your loudest voices. It is only through our voices, will our ignorant, manhandling elders begin to take notice that our education system has become rather obsolete.

Before we embark on my “rant”, I would like to applaud all the lecturers, professors, course co-ordinators and teachers who have opted for the wise decision to assess their disciples with something else other than exams (let’s be honest… We know you hate them too). Secondly, I would also like to ask you to give yourself a pat on the back for going through all those horrid, satanic, designed-to-fool-you “intelligence” measurers. And so… the journey begins…

Ugly Truth #1 – ADMIT IT! We’re all different!

I’m tired of being told… I’m not good enough, based on some poorly standardised test. One thing educators haven’t been able to admit to (although they constantly teach it) is the fact that we are all different. They just haven’t seemed to cracked the capitalist equation of efficiency and cost that would equate to, or produce a more personalised, satisfactory and actually enriching experience for our youngsters nowadays. Ultimately resulting to, as the brilliant tedster, Sir Ken Robinson has very well put it, “educating children by batches”. We’re divided by age and we all learn the same set of skills that someone above has deemed useful.

Ugly Truth #2 – TOP-DOWN Nonsense!

Top-down education is quintessentially irrelevant and it’s not something we should still be using after 300/400 years. Aside from the fact that it is no longer legal to abuse children for their “stupidity”, you could almost say that you’re being educated the same way a kid was in the 1700s. IT’S INSANE! This is the 21st century. We endorse democracy (at least… Most of us?). We live in a world where we are swamped by information and how accessible information has become. Why should we be told what’s to be learnt and what not? Is learning how to converse in numbers with your math teacher really more important than learning how to co-ordinate our bodies and express ourselves through dance or art, for that matter? And it’s quite clear, getting a teacher to reiterate what’s in the book or on Wikipedia is not quite working out….

Ugly Truth #3 – Are we going to prison… Or school?

You can ask however many students you want and most of them will probably say they hate school or something along the lines of that. Putting aside the typical jail-like situations (e.g. Being in school for a set number of hours, uniforms, kids having almost no autonomy throughout their education process etc.), school is just plain boring. Would you rather learn from a book your teacher has picked or some site you stumbled upon when searching for a plausible answer to a question you are personally invested into? A quote from a British Telecom ad writes, “Children WALK to school. Children RUN away from school.” As much as we would like to see those two verbs reversed, institutions are like black hole monsters, designed to suck the life out of you just to ensure that the brainwashing process, which starts at 8AM in the morning and ends at 4PM in the afternoon, is a 100% success. It gets a tad better once you’re at university level but why start so late?

Ugly Truth #4 – Why does creativity sit on a shelf like your box of cereals?

It seems to me that our education system has forgotten their fundamental aim, which is to nurture and equip one with the abilities to maximise on whatever future opportunities and to reach one’s full potential, most of which requires us to be able to adapt and innovate from whatever is around us. The ability for kids to be utilise their creative abilities has diminished, but, on the other hand (especially in Hong Kong), the ability for kids to regurgitate whatever was in the book has risen exponentially. Creativity shouldn’t be left on the shelf and only used during art classes or to beautify out projects, but instead with each and every single problem we approach. We shouldn’t be taught to pick an answer from a book, but instead we should be looking to put extra pages into these books.

Ugly Truth #5 – Exams only exist in school.

Contrary to unpopular belief, exams rarely take place outside of school. Exams are so focused on testing individual ability that it often undermines the fact that best solutions are derived through collaboration and an endless streaming pool of ideas. Likewise, we are not expected to drag out random pieces of knowledge on a regular basis (Dumbledore manages to do it quite well with his “pensieve” in the Goblet of Fire). Chances are… We will resort to Google and, maybe, eventually, that 100 pound textbook our teachers told us to buy for a ridiculous price, to help us acomplish our tasks. So… Why not have exams on googling… Or lessons on picking reliable sources… Or workshops on how to filter through endless piles of information?

After all, the essence of education or being educated will forever lie within the element of curiosity, something that our education system currently fails to preserve. Despite my ranting, we do have the responsibility to prove that we are still curious and that not 100% of our decision to go to university/school is because our parents or teachers told us to.

Sadly, we’re still stuck with enlightenment-ish education, so… Good luck for your mid-terms and upcoming assessments! hKUDOS will be with you along the way! We’ve got some tips and tricks in stall for you!!! Go check them out!


Lastly, to end on a brighter note and also one of my favourite topics… Jennifer Lawrence.

Girl shouldn’t walk…


If you want to read more on education or perhaps education reform… check out some of the links/videos/articles below!

A Beautifully illustrated video of Sir Ken Robinson’s tedtalk on ‘Changing Education Paradigms’

http://www.ted.com/topics/education - Stay curious! TEDTalks are stimulating and brilliant!

http://ditchthattextbook.com - A site by a textbook ditching teacher


(Image Source: http://www.joebower.org/2012/06/best-education-cartoon-ever.html)