Before we can say what is wrong with our educational system, we should define the term.The purpose of the educational system is to:
Pass on Knowledge
Relate relevant issues to each other
Prepare individuals and groups for future situations
The passing on of knowledge is one of the oldest civilized functions. The passing on of knowledge was originally done in the form of stories told when people got together. Once languages were written, then came libraries which were repositories for knowledge.
The passion to record and relate all knowledge has remained a goal of scholars since the invention of libraries.There is no better example of that than the World Wide Web. It’s original intended purpose was provide a central access site where all knowledge could be retained and for related items to be linked to each other.
The need for cross transfer of information has long been recognized as a needed but thorny issue.The issue is thorny because of the difficulty in execution of a noble idea.
As was mentioned earlier, large well organized enterprises have developed systems, involving SMEs (subject matter experts), which are specifically designed to enhance cross transfer of new ideas and concepts within and without their organizations. As in all such situations, this is not a perfect solution, but it is practical.
The preparation of individuals and groups for future situations is the single most extensive function of our educational system This is as it should be. This preparation process has three components. The first is the educational system as a whole. The second component is technical education/training. The third component is vocational education/training.
The functions identified as numbers two and three can arguably be included in the first category. Because their more specialized characteristics, they have differences which need to be identified. The above classification was chosen as the way to do that.
Our Educational System also has three distinct components. They are University Educational Systems,
High School Educational Systems and Grade School
The University Educational System has several components. These are Graduate School, Undergraduate School and two year Associate Degree Programs.
Graduate Schools are responsible for the preparation of scholars who will perpetuate the present customs. They are responsible for basic research in both general and technical areas. They are responsible for technical qualification and training and for general managerial training and qualifications.
Undergraduate Schools are responsible for entry level technical and general training. This includes managerial training. Let us not forget the original reason for the establishment of Universities which is to spread the knowledge of social and philosophical disciplines.These are the “liberal arts”.
The “Junior” Colleges serve two purposes. The first is prepare students to enter Undergraduate Schools. The second purpose is to provide training for entry level positions in our enterprise system. This often includes vocational training.
High Schools are responsible to complete the basic educational training skills of math, reading, writing, science and history. They are responsible to make their graduates employable in the enterprise system.
Grade Schools are responsible for to teach the basic knowledge skills and to prepare its graduates for High School.
As is evident from the above description of the responsibilities of the various levels of education,its mission is both diverse and complex. Compounding the diversity issue, is the fact that both Graduate Schools and Undergraduate Schools are curriculum driven to train the next generation. These schools often do not look at all of their functional responsibilities in a balanced manner. Commonly, the matter of qualifying graduates for employment in our enterprise system is not given sufficient emphasis.
Certain disciplines are not covered in sufficient breadth and depth. For example courses in Production Management do not explain that all systems, production and administrative, are best modeled as an analog hydraulic system.This fact is of great impact for those entering the enterprise system. Because they would know that in hydraulic systems constraints limit throughput and that their elimination improves the flow. This then prepares the graduate to make improvements on the ways in which things are done within the organization for which they work.