Education: Problems and Solutions?

I am a huge believer in education, and especially in ‘life-long learning’. However, I got an interesting email this morning from one of those many people who somehow get you to subscribe to their emails. You know, the ones you get and delete without reading, but for some reason never unsubscribe from.

Anyway, in this email the guy raised one valid flaw in the education mindset and the way education is presented. Sure, we’ve all heard the criticisms about education such as Ken Robinson’s Ted Talk where he laments about the way education so often is not designed to enable creative thinking.

Whether or not you agree, there is one possibly inherent side effect of the way education at all levels is approached.

It is mostly built on the premise of preparing you to work for someone else. It’s not designed to enable entrepenurship , or to create your own work. It’s a legitimate point I think. Sometime’s there is a basic business course built into a degree,  as is becoming somewhat in vogue for creative arts degrees, or business electives can be taken. These course are normally very basic, very hypothetical, and are too ‘safe’ and real life is not.

Perceived financial risk is likely the biggest discourager for people who have some business aspirations, whether it’s setting up a paid (profitable?) ensemble to setting up a bricks-and-mortar store.

Perhaps what is needed is an education where the establishment of a working business of your design is the outcome. A Postgraduate Diploma of Entrepreneurship where the role of the ‘educator’ is mostly as a mentor and advisor. The assessment is you successfully completing the stages of creating the business. Similarly to choosing a supervisor for research, you could choose a supervisor with the experience in your field to assist you.

I know that they exist in the real world in the form of ‘real world Masters of Business’ but they are costly and not easily accessible, and seem somewhat risky. Perhaps having similar thing accessible as postgraduate study in the form of diplomas could be a real boon to students and to the economy alike. Especially in the Creative Industries where there is such a scarcity of existing jobs, perhaps it’s time to start enabling people to create jobs?

What do you think?

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