Is Entrepreneurship the Answer to Obsolete Education System?
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It is a fallacy that start-ups have some kind of a monopoly, and that entrepreneurship is an exclusive domain only for the privileged few. Entrepreneurship is open for all; today it has become important in all spheres of life. An entrepreneur’s job is not merely to think for himself but to solve problems of the world. In this digital age, everyone needs to have an entrepreneurial mindset because opportunities are aplenty. For instance, in the realm of entertainment with the emergence of various platforms like Netflix and games like Angry Birds, Candy Crush and others; we are at a juncture where in, we are competing against the time not only among ourselves. If you are not making something fun, innovative, competitive and good enough to lure the masses why would anyone give you his or her precious time, when the market is flooded with so many products of similar kind? Thus, it is imperative to create good experiences and pay attention to the qualitative aspects. One has to adopt a different approach in order to survive in the tough market of this age, where only the fittest and ingenious can survive.
And this is true for education as well. We need to approach education differently — align education systems with entrepreneurship. The state of education systems in some countries is disappointing and far from progressive. Learning should be for life and not for any exam or test — that’s the whole point of education: to enlighten the young minds to work towards becoming better human beings and to bring about positive changes in the world. But sadly, that’s not the case with education systems in most countries. Long school days and a lot of homework have become the norm, which to be frank would not lead our children anywhere.
More so, due to constant academic pressure, kids hardly get time to imbibe life skills imperative for a bright future. Over 9000 students in India committed suicide in 2016, while in Korea 25 percent high school students consider committing suicide every year. We can blame academic pressure, depression, competitiveness and pushy parents for these suicides. But these prevalent suicides are caused mainly due to our abhorrent education systems, which is so dreadful.
It is high time now that we revive education systems with an entrepreneurial approach. In Finland, education reforms began almost 50 years ago. Today, its education system is considered to be the best in the world. Proper schooling doesn’t start for Finnish kids until they reach the age of seven and there’s no mandatory exam for school kids until they are 16. In Finland, kids are treated as people — the fact that they have their own thinking and ideas about life is respected. And there’s no reason why such an education system and thought can’t be embraced elsewhere. Why pedagogical methods must be allowed to kill creativity?
There’s a lot of disorder in education systems around the world and there’s no easy fix, unless we adopt a systematic approach. To me, India, Singapore and Korea have quite similar education systems. Many looming problems in education systems in these countries can be dealt with by focusing on entrepreneurship — we have to promote entrepreneurship. We should emphasize more on the quality rather than focusing on increasing school day’s length. And schools should do what entrepreneurs do: work out a system which is aligned with the future needs of the world. It goes without saying that everyone has a right to fantastic education but it should be less of a burden and more progressive.
Abraham Lincoln once said, “The philosophy of the school room in one generation will be the philosophy of the government in the next.” And it is thus, success of nations largely depends on the way they nurture the generation that’s still in schools. Indeed, this generation must be empowered with education which is aligned with entrepreneurship. And such an objective, if achieved, can do wonders. For the generation which is in schools today would someday, far in the future, acquire leadership roles. If we give them the freedom to choose their own paths rather than burdening them with books that might make all the difference.
This article was first published in the October 2018 issue of Entrepreneur Magazine. To subscribe, click here