The Current Education System Has Failed! But Why?

FailedEducation is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.



The future of our nation, as well as its individuals relies on education, yet our education system is greatly flawed. The issues in the current system cannot be ignored. This  is a substantial problem, yet one to which the Human Engineer has given much thought.
Well, what went wrong?

In order to answer this question, we must answer two questions:

1. What is education?
2. What is man?

Etymologically, educate comes from “e” + “duce” + “-ate”:

“e” means out of or from,
“duce” means lead or conduct,
“-ate” means causing.

Therefore, educate signifies causing to bring out the most from each individual. We are born with great potential and latent energies, yet we need to know what to do with these, how to use them, and in which direction to go.

The task is a very complex challenge. However, without the answer of what is man, we cannot go far. Understanding the big picture of the human is a prerequisite. We must answer:

What and who am I?
What are the needs and wants of humans?
How should we then live?
– Please refer to theologist Dr. Francis A. Schaeffer’s video series and book.

The irony of life is that no one understands how to live life before they live it, yet we must live today- we cannot postpone living until we understand the concept! Thus, learning from the right teacher is incredibly important. Emerson said that “the important thing is not what you learn but with whom you learn”. Please refer to the “Misunderstanding of practice” video blog.

Then, from where and whom can we learn? To me, this is no question: I rely on my God for spirituality. Without spirituality, life will not be complete. As Dr. Francis Schaffer says in his series “Nothing humanistic provides strong base for society as well as individual”.

Another great source is history.  History repeats itself when people do not remember what it is that happened, how it happened, and why it went wrong.

All humans have hierarchical needs (research Maslow’s “Hierarchy of Needs” for more information). We must first learn how to provide sufficient materials for survival. However, this is only limited to the basic, animal level of survival.
As humans, we need to examine certain persistent questions:

What is the meaning of life?
How does one create lifestyle and culture?

To answer these questions, we must develop mental ability as well as spirituality. As a matter of fact, this is all about education. Then, what are the functions of the mind? The functions of the mind are three abilities: intellect, emotion, and will. Each area has a unique strength and placement. Intellect has few other synonyms, such as thinking ability, reasoning, logics, and judgment. Emotion can be feeling, passion, attitude, and character. Will could be desire, intention, motive, want, and determination. These three areas make an unlimited number of combinations, which is a beautiful thing about life and each individual. Thus, the following question will be, what has the current education system done with the functions of the mind? This is the problem, because the education system doesn’t have a standardization nor evaluation system for emotions (feelings, attitudes) and intentions (willpower, motivation).  Because of this, the education system has been heading the wrong direction for centuries. No character education!

The education system bas been teaching students to prepare for a job, to provide their material needs, but it is only first two layers of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. With this condition, the education system has been setting a very poor value system for all the individuals well as our societies, too. What value system has been exercised? Only material gain is success and you are a money making machine! Honestly, how many modern citizens will think this way in the middle of the night? Have you thought about the money that you make before you sleep?Maslow's_hierarchy_of_needs.png

We concentrate on external gains, such as ‘what is my net worth?’ rather than ‘what is the meaning of life?’ ‘How much money did I make today?’, instead of ‘how should I live today?’ We evaluate a person’s success based on the amount of money he owns at the present time, which is not a permanent nor lasting value.  ‘I will be happier if have more money’ – how many people feels and saying this, can we really buying happiness with money? Society has been exercising the wrong value system, focusing on concepts such as “time is money.” This is very serious misconception because time is more than money- time is life. Yet we are exchanging time (life) with temporary material gains. What an ignorant lifestyle this is!

A close examination of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs will give us the bigger picture of human needs: physical needs followed by social and mental needs. Though Maslow did not cover this, we also have spiritual needs, which transcend beyond the level of self-actualization.

Annex - Chaplin, Charlie (Modern Times)_01.jpgCurrently, society follows a “schooling system” rather than an “educating system.” “Schooling” is limited to information studied for the purpose of trained labor, basically developing money making machines, nuts and bolts of society. Charlie Chaplin made this point 78 years ago with “Modern Times”.  “Educating” is a lifelong process that focuses on the human being’s intellect (thinking ability), emotion (feelings, attitude), intention (willpower, motivation) as well as spiritual realm to become a whole person. This is the tagline of Human EngineerⓇ.

Our current destination is corruption. In this sense, we are just as the Roman Empire. Alas, history repeats itself when it is forgotten!

Therefore, we must have a clear understanding of the big picture of life. From this base, we can build a strong set of standards and evaluation system. Starting point is “Principle of life #1” -Please refer to my post. Lives are totally independent as well as totally dependent – these facets link together as a pair. This base will teach us unlimited lessons because it can be applied to every facet of life. How complex life is!

One pole of the principle of life is total independency. This means that every entity has an individual need to gain “autonomy.” In those boundaries, every entity (individual, organization, or nation) will form a “Value System” that will set the direction of a lifespan.

Another pole of the principle of life is total dependency. This means every individual needs to find belonging, which means relationship within.  Humans consist of body, mind, and spirit; thus, relationships will be I to I, I to materials, I to other being, and I to God. “How to build a strong nation?” is another question that the education system must answer and able to teach to all the students. For more information, see “Why Nations Fail,” an excellent study by Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson and “State Building” by Francis Fukuyama.

The current education system has failed for a long while because it has:

1. Failed to teach the meaning of life. – Please refer to “Meaning of Life”  soon to be posted.
2. Failed to teach a sound value system. – Please refer to “Value System” soon to be posted.
3. Failed to teach how to build a strong nation.
4. Failed to offer a system for developing the human mind for character building. This is the reason for the Human EngineerⓇ.

Of course, so many other questions can be raised with the problem of education system.
Many companies need to train their employees again with critical life skills after they graduate from school- such as problem solving skills (please refer “Art of Thinking” post), creativity, leadership, morality, and etc.

As George Fillmore Swain said in his book How to Study, “Education is an opportunity, nothing more. It will not guarantee success, or happiness, or contentment, or riches… It may make a man more capable of doing harm in the world, for an educated scoundrel is clearly more dangerous than an ignorant one.”

Conclusion: When we are unable to define the meaning of life and do not possess a sound value system, all of the effort and money that we invest in the education system will end up harming us!

This is why the Human Engineer’s teaching system is critical to our future!
After all, “Building you to be a whole person” is the tagline for The Human Engineer.

Ⓒ 2014 by Jeeho Lee, Human EngineerⓇ