A recent article on Forbes about Public Education Vs. Public Schooling brought out a lot of insight on the difference between the two. Most people assume that the two are synonymous and yet schooling just happens to be one method of education. Once we separate mass schooling from public education , we won’t be stuck trying to reform just one arm but instead opening up to different methods of education.
Public schooling was founded on the industrial model and is slowly losing relevance in this new economy that increasingly values creativity as opposed to conformity. Knowledge workers now have their seats on the high table kicking out factory laborers. Mass schooling has become outdated in a time in history where the Industrial Age has been replaced by the Imagination Age. What public education needs is a model of learning that taps into the innate capacity of human beings that’s self-educative.
Ivan Illich wrote a book called Deschooling Society that talks about de-institutionalizing learning and instead focusing on decentralizing education models which support learners in educating themselves. So what’s the solution? Education webs that increase the opportunity for every individual to transform every single moment of his life to be a learning opportunity.
One example of the educational webs is the public library. Libraries are community-based learning hubs that are non-coercive. They offer lectures, classes, ESL lessons, cultural events, mentoring opportunities, computer courses among other activities open to the general public. If one library doesn’t have what you’re looking for, you can easily look for another one that will suit your needs. This is an example of public education done right offering eager learners with all the tools they require to better themselves. We should move away from public schooling and more towards public education that caters for all and opens up ourselves to endless possibilities for learning.