Dear Members of the Inventure Community,
When I last wrote to you, in the interest of brevity, I restrained myself from sending you more than a two - three page letter! In hindsight, that was a wise decision, since the numerous ideas that had crystallized from my trip to the U.S. last year, have slowly but surely, begun to take root from the "drawing board‟ into tangible, achievable and highly relevant projects here at Inventure Academy.
This is "part two" of the letter I had committed to send you with more on the "Future of Education and Inventure". With so many exciting developments in the future of our partnership in education, I will be sending one more letter following this one, focused on the initiatives, and opportunities for you to participate in them. Please do read, and share in the excitement ahead!
In the last letter, I had also written about Inventure's remarkable ten year journey in the field of education, where we now find ourselves placed among the top ten co-ed day schools in the country, two years in a row.
There is no time or place for complacency, however. Education is an ever-evolving endeavor and our children are of course, at the core of this dynamic process. India and the world at large, face tremendous challenges and opportunities. It's up to us to build / re-design the present educational system, to make it more effective – both in the here and now as well as for the future.
In my previous correspondence, I had shared the story on Gandhi's wisdom through a story (please refer to the first letter, which has also been sent along with this one). David Perkins, Harvard Professor, used to ask, what our "second sandal" is … i.e., what do we need to let go of to do the good we want / need to do in education?
I would like you to set aside some time over the next day or two, to think back to your own time at school. Think back and write down what was the most useful thing you learnt at school, in hindsight. Now compare this with what you were tested on in your high school exam (err if you can remember this at all!). Is there a discrepancy that is apparent? Please feel free to share this with us by mail, and what you think your “second sandal” is.
As Neil Postman (1995) said in the “End of Education”, “In considering how to conduct the schooling of our young, adults have two problems to solve: one is the engineering problem (method of teaching); the other, a metaphysical one (what learning matters and what is ultimately important?).”
The future of Inventure is in the making, even as I write this. These developments, slated to begin from the Academic Year 2015 – 2016, are based on our responses to the following questions:
1. “What is the purpose of life, education and going to school?”
Our belief is that we are all born with inherent talents; that we each have our unique dreams, learning preferences, and strengths. Education, therefore, should help each student figure out their passions and maximize their inherent potential. It should enable them to be the best version of themselves that they can be, while contributing to society to make the world a better place.
2. What will the world be like over the period of our students lives? What kind of learning truly matters for the kind of lives that our children will live in the future? What are the trends impacting the future of education? Here are some key ones to consider:
- Improved communications and computerization – The new iPhones, reportedly have 25 times more computing power than the whole world had at its disposal in 1995! (source - the Economist). Our world is getting increasingly digitised. Think for example the tremendous impact of Wikileaks on our world, or even the potential impact of MOOCS on both society and education. Google our Prime Minister, Mr. Modi. Notice the summary which appears on the right hand side? My friends at Google tell me it‟s done by algorithms and not by a human being directly.
- Globalization - The world is becoming increasingly small, more complex, global in every sense and interdependent. This brings both good ( as in the spread of peoples‟ movements for more democracy, i.e. the Arab Spring in the Middle East, Anti Corruption movement in India, etc) and bad manifestations of progress (where consumption patterns in one country can impact our globe‟s fragile balance and put more pressure on our natural resources including for food and water). And of course, for those of us who live in Bangalore, you know that despite us being the virtual back office to corporations all over the world, our physical infrastructure has crumbled.
- Inequity with concentration of power and wealth in fewer hands, thereby increasing the divide between the "haves and have nots". Oxfam recently reported that 1% of the world‟s population accounts for almost 50% of the entire planet's wealth! For all the talk of India‟s demographic dividend, we are projected to have 200 million unemployed youth by 2020, further exacerbating the problem.
- Development of the “on-demand economy”- According to a recent article in the Economist, (excerpted): “The future of work, the on-demand economy will inevitably exacerbate the trend towards enforced self-reliance that has been gathering pace since the 1970‟s. Workers who want to progress will have to keep their formal skills up to date, rather than on relying on the firm to train them (or push them up the ladder regardless).” This means accepting more challenging assignments or, if they are locked into a more routine job, taking responsibility for themselves. They will also have to learn how to drum up new business and make decisions between spending and investment.
- More research has led to a better understanding of how the human brain has evolved and functions as man has evolved from a hunter-gatherer, agriculturist to a knowledge worker.
We will be sharing the details of the initiatives being developed at Inventure in response to these points in my next mail to you. We at Inventure are fascinated by the future yet unknown. It is a future that needs to be shaped by our children. They need a relevant and purposeful education in order for them to fulfill their potential and excel anywhere in the world, and to be fit for life. We invite you join us in that collective quest, so that we may have a meaningful impact on the lives of our children in a new world.
Co Founder & Managing Trustee