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CHAPTER 5 - ALTERNATIVE EDUCATION

MY CRAZY CHALLENGE

CHAPTER 5 - ALTERNATIVE EDUCATION
No one doubts, that regarding the many areas in which the world is in a bad state, change needs to happen. "Change", and "yes we can" were the election slogans that moved the US to elect the first black president. But did change happen? Not really. The old structures and stories are too strong to be changed rapidly.
Change often comes slowly, incrementally, and starts in the mindset of people. (Unless it is facilitated by events like natural disasters, etc.). So where better to start than in education?
The current education system is hopelessly outdated. Created in times that were asking for factory workers, children and adolescents around the world are still being educated to follow orders, instead of proactively think for themselves and take initiative. To tackle the worlds problems, we need future leaders to be able to think out of the box and come up with unconventional solutions.
For more information about how the education system is not serving it's purpose anymore, please watch Sir Ken Robinson's fantastic TED talk:
http://www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinson_says_schools_kill_creativity
In conventional education, there are some exceptions of people who do great things. Here is a heartwarming video about a teacher that plays a game with his third graders to solve the world's problems and create peace:
http://www.ted.com/talks/john_hunter_on_the_world_peace_game
Unfortunately, those great examples are still exceptions. But there is light in the end of the tunnel: in the past decade, the alternative education movement has been getting stronger and stronger, and all kinds of unconventional (education) projects are popping up all around the world:
Artist Incubators, Coworking spaces, DIY education such as free online courses, entrepreneurship incubators, hackerspaces and makerlabs, social innovation camps, collaborative living projects, and many more. A fantastic collection can be found here:
http://emergentbydesign.com/2012/01/08/93-superhero-schools-collaboratories-incubators-accelerators-hubs-for-social-tech-innovation/
I personally, after working in a bank followed by a degree in Psychology, went to Knowmads Business School Amsterdam. It was one of the best decisions of my life. Knowmads is a one year educational program about social entrepreneurship, changemaking, personal development, business, leadership, and much more. There are no teachers and the students decide on what projects they want to work on. Whether starting a co-working space, a consultancy or opening a café, the students learn to take initiative for their own life, and their own learning. Some students even started or are starting new Knowmads schools in Hanoi, Berlin and Sevilla.
Things are changing rapidly: with access to internet, you can now learn anything you want, be it Programming (f.ex. on the websites udemy.com, or lynda.com, or a course about artificial intelligence or social innovation at MIT (find a good catalogue of online educational courses here: www.edx.org).
Some people are doing their own 'Personal MBA' or a so-called 'Open Master's Program' (http://www.openmasters.org/), and organize their education themselves, instead of spending a fortune in a conventional university.
To be able to navigate effectively through this new world with all it's possibilities, opportunities and challenges, it's good if you have learned to take things in your own hand, and take control and responsibility of your world.
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