This is one of the main reasons why Ciro Santilli invested in OurBigBook.com.
Ciro believes that the only thing students must be forced to learn is to speak read and write English and that a teacher's main job after that is to help students find their next big goals and also ties into the backward design philosophy.
Everything else, the student must choose.
This idea is generally known as self-directed learning.
This is most notable in University entry examinations of poor countries, where students often have to waste one extra year of their lives to go through preparation for the useless university entry exams. And then, surprise surprise, if they actually get in, they find that this is not what they really wanted to do, and they just go through to the end miserably because they understandably they don't want to risk another year of their lives.
Ciro saw this first hand École Polytechnique which was way freer than his university in Brazil.
Steve Jobs's university dropout stories from Steve Jobs' 2005 Stanford Commencement Address also come to mind.
Video 1. The Purpose of Education by Noam Chomsky (2012) Source.
  • 0:00 discusses education as a system of indoctrination: indoctrincation for people to comply with the Establishment and pass tests, vs the Age of Enlightenment in which education should help you achieve your own intellectual/life goals. He suggests without specific evidence that after the 60's there was explicit intervention in the US to increase the indoctrination aspect, of which debt is a part.
  • 15.45: assessment vs autonomy: exams are useless, except as a tool to help improve teaching and self assess. Tells anecdote about little girl who wanted to learn more about a subject, asked teacher how to learn more, teacher said you can't, you have to study for this useless national exam instead which will determine your future, and if I'm rehired or not.
www.nature.com/articles/081121a0. paywalled after more than 100 years, thanks Nature.
From the abstract:
Much money, his student went on to say, is spent by various Governments in attempting to discover those people whose thorough education may be expected to bring in a return of value to the State, and the question how best to discover latent genius is an eminently practical one. After cogitation, Prof. Ostwald came to the conclusion that it is those students who cannot be kept on the rails - that is, who are not contented with methodical teaching - who have within them the seeds of genius
Ciro Santilli couldn't agree more... notably students must have a flexible choice of what to learn.
This is a good initiative. It doesn't go nearly as deep as it needs to go to fix students must have a flexible choice of what to learn, but it is a start!

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