Creating a new way of learning

Schools or universities do not have the monopoly of knowledge anymore. A tremendous amount of information is now reachable from your own computer or smart phone within seconds. Harvard has many of its courses online through free webcasts, Ban Ki-moon is available to chat online every once in a while and new ideas can be viewed from new Ted-talks daily. Quite frankly, the information is out there for those who know how to find it – and that is exactly where the current educational systems often fail.

Yes, indeed many students are taught to use the Internet and search for information but these are mere tips that too get old. In many schools and universities are the students transferred information and not skills – skills that last and make them autonomous individuals in our global world.

Our living environment is changing rapidly and the individuals who learn in school or later in life to teach themselves the necessary knowledge will tackle the future challenges easily. Our educational systems must support this cause more thoroughly. This could be easily done if enough students realize to ask for it. Why? Because at the moment the political will is actually out there. And how do I know this? Because I have been there and seen that.

I had the privilege to be the first person in the world to address the UNESCO Commission of Education – the forum where 195 world countries discuss education and shape the future of it. As one of the two elected representatives of the 7th UNESCO Youth Forum I had a fruitful discussion on education with all the member states for four hours. As a result I can say that the momentum exists for reshaping the educational systems to better respond to the massive youth employment, poverty and inequality of the world today.

So instead of the public debates on the content of the National Curriculums we should be talking how students everywhere could teach themselves better– on every possible subject. How could we educate more people to take responsibility over their own lives and societies also after the last day of school is over? Don’t get me wrong. I do believe that there is an essential role for the teachers as well – actually much greater than now as just messengers. Great teachers today all around the world are already showing the way to self-learning. Students must support them and drive towards a world where learning is an active, not a passive act.

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