The time has come to revolutionize our education system by replacing traditional school, college, university and Ph.D. programs with a more modern, skill-focused approach driven by artificial intelligence, virtual technology, and interactive tools. This proposed shift represents a radical departure from the current educational model.

The current education model, spanning from primary education to university, has lost its relevance and become counterproductive. These educational institutions are no longer aligned with the education requirements of the third decade of the 21st century; instead, they hinder the potential of students.

The outdated hierarchy of educational institutions, from primary school to college and university, requires a replacement with a new model of education. Universities, in particular, should immediately be reoriented.

Historically, education systems were designed to serve two objectives: the enlightenment of students and society in general, and skill development. Skill development was the ultimate goal of all educational courses and degrees. Think of doctors, engineers, lawyers, teachers, and other professionals in any field of the education system. However, skill development used to be achieved through long, tedious, and inefficient educational systems that have persisted for many centuries.

However, in 21st century and particularly during its 3rd decade, the enlightenment of students and individuals in society, can continue after fulfilling basic requirements such as reading, writing, learning, basic math, and computer skills. The process of continuous enlightenment always depend on social, economic, political, and institutional structures and the ethos of society, along with scientific and technological advancements.

Whereas, the skill development process, which currently begins after completing a course or degree programme, can now start during the early stages of the new education system. This is made possible by the exponential unfolding of scientific and technological developments, which have also transformed the DNA of the children in the post-internet era.

In this context, there is no longer a need for current degree programmes, including the 5-year M.B.B.S and 4-year B.E. Medical students can acquire basic knowledge of anatomy, physiology, and biochemistry within a period of 6 months using advanced technologies, including simulations, which offer a superior learning experience compared to outdated methods.

There is no necessity to read extensive volumes of anatomy and physiology books anymore. Furthermore, they can also gain proficiency in clinical medicine within 12 to 18 months, utilizing the assistance of state-of-the-art gadgets that far surpass centuries-old, outdated methods. PhD degrees, in particular, have become entirely obsolete.

The new technologies, particularly generative artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality and virtual technologies etc., have the potential to revolutionize education, making it more accessible, personalized, and effective and achieve objectives traditionally associated with degree programmes at an earlier age fostering a generation of highly skilled and innovative individuals ready to contribute to their fields and society.

The new education model must use the latest artificial intelligence and virtual technology to create immersive and interactive learning experiences. These technologies can simulate real-world scenarios, provide personalized learning paths, and adapt to individual students’ needs and preferences. This approach makes learning more engaging and relevant to the digital age.

The new education model must integrate interactive tools, such as simulations, animations, virtual reality, and gamified learning platforms, students can explore and experiment with concepts in ways that were not possible in traditional classrooms. These tools encourage creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving while tapping into the students’ imagination.

AI-driven platforms enable early specialization, allowing students to deeply engage with specific subjects of interest from a young age. They also facilitate original research and innovation by granting access to extensive databases and research materials, and by providing virtual laboratories and simulations for hands-on experimentation.

AI challenges students with problems that foster critical thinking and problem-solving skills, while AI-powered tutors offer guidance and immediate feedback.

Virtual reality and augmented reality technologies enhance communication skills through immersive environments, and chatbots and virtual assistants help improve written and verbal communication. AI connects students globally, promoting networking and collaboration through virtual conferences and projects. Personalized learning paths are suggested based on AI analysis of aptitudes and interests, ensuring a well-rounded education while encouraging early specialization.

AI tools assist with research and data analysis, making processes more efficient and identifying patterns. AI allows exploration of interdisciplinary connections and prepares students for early entry into the workforce or entrepreneurship. Lifelong learning platforms supported by AI ensure continuous skill development and adaptability in a changing job market.

The new education model should prioritize the assessment of a young child’s aptitude. Instead of relying solely on standardized tests and grades, which can be highly stressful and demoralizing, the emphasis should be on evaluating students’ inherent abilities and potential for skill development. This could involve assessing their capacity to adapt to new technologies, collaborate effectively, and think critically. Such assessments can help guide students towards appropriate paths for skill development.

Implementing skill-focused education from an early age should be complemented by programmes that allow children sufficient time for exploration, play, and a well-rounded childhood experience.

The objective is to equip students with practical skills and knowledge from an early stage of their education, enabling them to complete the process by the age of 15-16 and enter the job market at a young age. This early entry into the workforce empowers them to become self-reliant, confident, responsible individuals who can contribute to their families and society as well. They can continue to learn and develop their skills while working. The new education model will incorporate these provisions and vision.

By preparing students to master skills and become self-reliant at a young age, the education system encourages responsibility, independence, Self-confidence and self-respect. This approach instills a sense of ownership and self-sufficiency, reducing dependency on parents and on external support systems.

The notion of initiating skill development at a younger age is supported by research. Studies have demonstrated that early skill development can have a lasting positive impact on the overall structure of the workforce in a country. By introducing skill development into the curriculum at an early stage, it enhances creativity, cultivates perseverance, and helps students acquire practical skills that can be applied in real-world situations.

The average age of students entering higher education even in OECD countries is around 18 to 19 years old. By the time they graduate, they are typically in their early to mid-20s. This means that a significant portion of their youth is spent in educational institutions, which some argue could be better spent gaining practical experience and contributing to society.

Moreover, the rapid advancement of technology is changing the nature of work and the skills required for future jobs. Embracing technology trends can help individuals expand their skill sets and stay relevant in an ever-evolving world. For example, artificial intelligence and virtual reality can be used to provide a more personalized and engaging learning experience.

However, it’s important to note that this model must provide opportunities for personal growth, exploration of various academic disciplines, development of critical thinking skills and the social aspect of the student life to contribute to a student’s overall development and well-being.

The new education model should encompass several key changes to better prepare students for the evolving demands of the modern world:

1- Introduction of Educational Toys and Gadgets: The model should begin by introducing educational toys, games, and gadgets for toddlers and pre-school children. These tools can foster early learning, curiosity, and cognitive development in young minds.

2- Starting Primary Education at Age 4: Primary education should commence at the age of 4, focusing on a well-rounded curriculum that includes language skills, social skills, ethics, geography, numeracy, computing, and coding. This early start helps children build a strong foundation for future learning.

3- Eliminating Formal Examinations in Primary Education: To reduce unnecessary pressure and stress, formal examinations should be eliminated during primary education. The focus should shift towards a more holistic and continuous assessment approach, allowing students to learn without the fear of exams.

4- Post-Primary Education and Skill Development: In post-primary education, there should be a strong emphasis on skill development. It’s essential to recognize that the ultimate objective of the traditional education system has always been skill development. This modern model aligns with the needs of the contemporary job market, where practical skills are highly valued.

5- Graduation by Age 14: Graduation in the new education system should ideally be completed by the age of 14, ensuring that students are equipped with a basic level of knowledge and skills necessary for success in various fields. This early graduation provides them with a head start in their educational and professional journeys.

6- Specialized Skill Development: Following graduation, one or two years of specialized skill development should be offered based on the concept of continuous learning. These additional years allow students to explore specific interests, develop expertise, and gain practical skills that align with their career goals.

7- Real-World Relevance: The new model recognizes that education’s primary goal is to prepare individuals for the real world. It places a strong emphasis on practical skills, ensuring that students are not only academically proficient but also equipped to excel in their chosen careers, whether as engineers, doctors, teachers, or in other professions.

By implementing these changes, the new education model seeks to create a more dynamic and responsive educational system that fosters early learning, adapts to the needs of the 21st century, and empowers students with the skills and knowledge required to succeed in an ever-changing world.

We must recognize that the education and skill development of every child is the responsibility of the state, as stipulated in Article 25A, 25, 9, and 14 of the constitution. In terms of resources, our country possesses more than enough to meet these requirements.

Moreover, the new education model will generate its own resources. The crucial need is to ensure access to electricity, particularly through sustainable sources like solar energy, and to provide internet connectivity to every household and educational institution.

Presently, a sizable portion of our educational funds is being misallocated and embezzled with inefficiencies leading to wastage ranging from 60% to 80%. Therefore, the challenge does not primarily concern funding and resources. International organizations and institutions have always been willing to contribute funds, technology, and expertise once a transparent, accountable, and efficient education system is established.

Lastly, it is essential to emphasize the importance of a responsible and visionary approach towards our own people and our nation. This attitude, combined with a commitment to reform and progress, will be instrumental in realizing the potential of our education system and ultimately benefit our society and country.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

Dr Murtaza Khuhro

The writer is a retired Civil Servant and Advocate at the High Court. [email protected]

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Tunio Jan 17, 2024 03:44pm
"The time has come to revolutionize our education system by replacing traditional school, college, university and Ph.D. programs with a more modern, skill-focused approach driven by artificial intelligence, virtual technology, and interactive tools. This proposed shift represents a radical departure from the current educational model." Nice cut and past job! Indeed, AI will revolutionize education in Sindh ...it would enhance 100-fold the cheating that goes on in the educational institutions all across Sindh!
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