TROM Discussions: Education

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I renamed my English club, “Better Than Your Average Conversation in Irkutsk”  ?

About a dozen people showed up to our discussion last night, including 4 new guys that had never heard of the Venus Project, TROM or the ideas behind a resource based economy. Most people were Russian, but there was also one guy from Tajikistan, one from Uzbekistan and one from Nigeria. Awesome mix of very friendly people :)  By the way, most of them found my discussion club because I posted it as an event on couchsurfing.com

Last night we watched and discussed this TROM video on the educational system:

Almost everyone in our meeting agreed that today’s educational system is outdated and inadequate in most countries across the globe. Apparently in Tajikistan, kids get overloaded with subjects to the point that they can’t focus and take in any useful information from school. Sound familiar to anyone? :)

Another problem in Tajikistan is that the minimum salary is about $50/month, but it takes about $150/month to survive there. That’s why so many Tajiks come to Russia to work crappy jobs for pennies, just like Latino Americans do in the US.

What an unfair world we live in. You’re born on planet Earth. You didn’t choose where you were born, but if you happen to come out of a woman living in a poor Tajik village, you are brought up with circumstances that give you very few options for survival, let alone for a decent living. You get a crappy education because that’s all that’s available to you, maybe you’ll drop out of school to help your family survive. You struggle with work because you are not educated well; you get paid a minimum salary for hard labor, and this is not enough for you to survive. So you illegally immigrate to a richer country, where you earn a few more pennies for survival, and maybe send some of these pennies back home. You’re treated like shit and spat on because you have a crappy job, your culture is different, you’re still not educated and you may not know the local language. Is this really your fault? Do you deserve to be treated like this?

Tell me, what does it take to get people to wake up and at least try to understand each other?

I mentioned last night that one major issue with education is that the current system doesn’t teach kids how to bridge differences or understand each other.

But there’s a reason for this: “If you educate people to think, you can’t control them. So you’re educated not to think in school. You’re programmed to uphold existing institutions” -Jacque Fresco

They want patriot sheeple! Maybe that’s why our educational system sucks.

Notes from our online discussion:

The current educational system is inadequate for the fast changing (and chaotic) environment that we currently live in.

First of all, school generally bores the hell out of kids. Nowadays kids live in such a fast-paced rapidly changing environment, with tons of information coming at them from all angles, yet they are forced to sit in a classroom and listen to boring lectures that prepare them to pass tests. They are mostly taught to follow by rules and memorize facts, rather than to question everything and use critical thinking and the scientific method to arrive at decisions. In general, learning can be a lot more interactive and should not focus on passing tests or memorizing facts. It is more important to know how to find and analyze facts than it is to have these facts memorized. There are already many organizations, institutions, and even countries that are improving the methods used in education. Finland is a great example:

This is interesting as well: “Philosophy for Children”- teaching kids how to think, rather than what to think. I haven’t delved too deeply into this organization yet, but you can check it out if you wish :).

Another very important point is that children (well, actually, all people) need to learn about what is actually relevant- how the world works. How global and international institutions, global politics, business, etc., affect your local life. Where do you get your clothes from? How does the dairy industry work? Where do people get their values? How can you communicate properly with others? Where do the minerals in your gadgets come from? How are these gadgets assembled, marketed and brought to you? Why do you have to work to get these gadgets? What is money? Where does it come from? Planned obsolescence, deforestation, climate change, the collapse of ecosystems across the globe- this is clearly all relevant since human beings do depend on the Earth for survival. Some schools and universities are starting to put together “international and global studies” courses that attempt to analyze the current global environment, however, I have yet to see a school or university offer a course on a resource based economy. If it exists, please let me know :). If not, let’s make it happen guys!

Education is key for our future.

For anyone interested in discussing these topics, you can join our online chats.