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Deschooling Society – Comparative Perspectives On Education Reform & Alternatives

July 25, 2021 at 12:00 am - 3:00 am SMT

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In this salon, Zac Yap and Yudhistira lead a discussion on the potential harms of formal education through schools and college, and possible paths of reimagining education from scratch.

Drawing on Ivan Illich’s 1971 book titled Deschooling Society, we critically evaluate, update and extend the book’s arguments across cultures and borders.  Has the vision of decentralised “learning webs” been realised, and how can the concept be enhanced in light of the progress we have made in artificial intelligence today? Illich posited that a good educational system should have three purposes:

  • it should provide all who want to learn with access to available resources at any time in their lives
  • empower all who want to share what they know to find those who want to learn it from them
  • furnish all who want to present an issue to the public with the opportunity to make their challenge known

Are those the only purposes of education? How different might the goals and expectations of education be in countries like Singapore and Indonesia? How is our current education system doing on those fronts? What hidden assumptions is our current education based on, and are those assumptions still valid today? If we were to reimagine education and rebuild it with the technology and tools available to us today, what would it look like? What kind of infrastructure do we need to build?

In the four decades since the book was written, we have seen developments in the education landscape like the Opencourseware movement by top universities like MIT and Yale, MOOCs on platforms like EdX and Coursera, non-profit educational content providers like Khan Academy,  and the possibility of personalised education facilitated by Edtech. How much progress have these developments brought to the state of education today?

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July 25, 2021
12:00 am - 3:00 am SMT
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Zac Yap
Yudhistira G.S.