Aiming at graduate inventors rather than job seekers
Dec 04,2018 –
This article is motivated by the need to embrace a notion of “teaching for learning for inventing” in the higher education institutions. It is highly urgent that Jordanian schools, colleges and universities aim at graduating inventors capable of offering jobs for others instead of seeking jobs for themselves. With knowledge, societies create wealth and prosperity. Therefore, rules, policies and practices of educational systems need to become knowledge systems to drive innovation. However, innovation thrives on intellectual property protection, grows on campus driven incubators and excels with venture capital that implements the commercialisation of inventions.
In this context, research and development agencies are required to allocate resources to support young inventors to develop their innovative skills. In addition, the role of lecturers needs to be redefined so that they become technical advisers and mentors for their students. Knowledge, which is available on the Internet, also provides democratic and equal opportunity for all. To succeed in this move, quality assurance in education has to develop metrics to measure the ability of institutions to transform to an online knowledge-based, smart education, with strong capabilities to produce innovation. Otherwise, the knowledge tsunami will wipe out those who are left behind. Smart education and artificial intelligence (AI) will not only make things more intelligent, but also make some humans better than others, physically and intelligently.
Today, 190 universities have launched 600 free online courses. MIT, for instance, has decided to invest as much as $1 billion for the establishment of an AI college in order to prepare and produce a generation of AI graduates in all disciplines through machine learning programmes, including ethical aspects of AI.
The progress made during the past 150 years in the telephone and automobile industries surpass by large the progress in classroom education. As a matter of fact, classrooms have always set one common goal; that is to produce job-seekers in the workplace of today, and not even for the workplace of the future.
It is time that this rigid form is radically revised and duly changed. Scientists concluded that there are no two identical brains and that there are no two children born in any family with the same kind of brain. If that is the case, why do educational systems keep offering the same kind of education for different kinds of brains? What would happen to patients if doctors gave the same prescription to different people with different medical problems?
It is unacceptable that teachers continue to lecture students with different brains, different needs, different capabilities and different objectives, by using uniform methods and by recycling the same input. Is it not shameful that workers in the most important profession, education, are paid the lowest salary scales among all other professions? Why should doctors, who treat our bodies, receive much higher salaries than the teachers who treat our brains? It is true that students represent 20 per cent of our population all over the world, yet it is also true that they represent 100 per cent of our future.
We need educational systems that should be tailored for the needs of different student brains, and not for asking the impossible of them, just like asking the fish to climb the tree.
This article is intended as a contribution to explore opportunities to overhaul educational systems at large and bring remedies to their continuing failure to meet the needs of students and incompetency to adapt to the demands of progress, change and future.
The writer is chairman of Talal Abu-Ghazaleh Organisation. He contributed this article to The Jordan Times