Education must be personalized in schools.

Updated: Nov 3

How to take control of your education while in school.

I recently met someone who introduced himself by stating his areas of interest. It was my moment to introduce myself, and I said: "I love everything about education and feel that every student should take ownership of their education, whether official, informal, or a combination of both." He then said that, the future of education is personal which got me thinking.

Unwilling to change

“The world is changing so fast but our school system seems to be lagging behind with no willingness to change.”

For ages, the same methods of teaching and learning have been employed with little variation. Some schools have attempted to incorporate modern skills into their learning and teaching techniques, but have found it difficult to shift. Let me give you an example.

During the 2020/2021 academic year, I participated in a program called International Digital Product Architecture, which focused on digital product creation, entrepreneurship, and coding. We started with 5 students, including myself (it was a new program and we were the second class, so I'd say that was fine given the events of 2020....pandemic!). As of the second semester, we were down to just two students, myself included. To say this was entertaining would be a mistake; it was actually rather boring, extremely depressing, and here I was hoping for some changes to make our study meaningful.

I once asked the coaches if it was possible to speed the process for us because there were only the two of us, so that we could graduate sooner rather than three years. I proposed this because similar courses are available in Bootcamps and other online colleges and can be finished in 3 to 12 months. The courses given in this program were more akin to chapters from a single book spread out across three years, and to top it all off, certain courses were unconnected and superfluous, leaving no opportunity for choice. Consider learning about digital product development while also making hardware. I previously inquired as to why the program advertises itself as a digital product course but we are learning how to construct physical items, and I was assured that is exactly what the curriculum covers. My friend and I understood exactly what we wanted to do, so we requested that the program be modified to meet our needs, but our requests were ignored, and we both dropped out of the program.

The world is changing so quickly, but our school system appears to be lagging behind, unwilling to modernize. Some have adapted to some changes, but the majority of the tools are still outdated and cannot be utilized in today's digital environment, particularly in underdeveloped countries.

Personalized education system

I'd like a system that allows me to create my own courses from various programs. For example, I enjoy designing, whether it's branding, logos, or UI (user interface), which is why I chose that program in the first place. At the time of enrollment, I asked the program coordinator if I could choose the aspects in which I excelled and enjoyed, and she said it was feasible in the second year. I recall asking the students ahead of us if that was the case, and to my dismay, it wasn't. As time passed, you'd do more code than design, and to be honest, coding was not my strong suit; it was a challenge for me.

The system I want is one in which, depending on what I want to do, I can select courses from a Digital Product program, others from a Business Administration program, and so on (you get what I mean). This way, I'll have complete choice over what I study in school and my future employment.

Some students remain in school for several years simply because they are unable to complete a specific course and, worse, are not permitted to continue their studies due to poor performance, resulting in "wasted" years for lack of a better phrase.

Let's take back control

"You have the power to do something about your future by taking action now."

We could complain about the system all day, knowing that the changes may not occur, and even if they do, they may not come in our lifetime. What I frequently teach kids is that, while you may not be able to change the system right now, you can influence your future by taking action right now. This means that, in addition to studying at school, you should pursue your passion outside of school. If your academic program coincides with what you genuinely enjoy doing, that's fantastic. In either event, don't expect the educational system to give you with all you need to succeed in the future; you'll be disappointed.

The world is changing so quickly, and everyone is acquiring today's skills, but unfortunately, some of these skill-sets are not being taught in schools. That is why, even when in school, it is advantageous to take responsibility for yourself in designing the future you want.

Educate yourself outside school

Digital skills are offered online, some for free and some for a fee. Choose what speaks to you. Regardless of what you study in school, educate yourself outside of school so that you do not join the ranks of unemployed graduates waiting for the government or a wealthy uncle or auntie to provide them with a job. You are capable of more than what or who you believe you are. Your destiny is in your hands; seize it.

I hope you dream beyond your circumstances and environment.

I'd love to hear from you. What are you studying in school and do you think it's the right program for you? Should education in our schools be personalized?