154. What is education and what is it for?

Education is critically important to the success of society and the wellbeing of its citizens, its ultimate purpose. One concern I have of late is that education, following the Anglo Saxon model, is becoming too utilitarian. Educational institutions promote themselves as educating to cover employers’ needs, preparing pupils for the job market. This, I fear, is a mistake. Education needs to be more, it must develop learning, reasoning and criticising skills and a wide range of concerns and understanding. Firstly, because job market needs are not fixed and, therefore, educating for today is doomed to future failure. But more importantly, because efficacy without the right purpose is dangerous. Our brightest, most educated young people focus their efforts on creating wealth shifting complex financial products or strategies to keep kids glued to their screens longer, rather than on solving major social challenges like climate change, infectious disease, antibiotic resistance or inequality

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